The barrister who chaired the Public Inquiry into the Stafford hospitals scandal has insisted it was not his job to point the finger at individuals for what went wrong.
Robert Francis QC has told MPs on the Health Select Committee that his task was to hold an inquiry not a trial. He said his role was to establish what lessons that must be learned from the disaster so that patients in the future will not suffer in the same way.
The campaign group Cure the NHS is still calling for greater accountability in the wake of the Inquiry report which exposed a culture of denial, corporate self interest and lack of basic care for vulnerable patients. Up to a thousand may have died needlessly between 2005 and 2009 because of appalling standards of treatment and care.
Giving evidence today Robert Francis said the concerns of the patients and the voices of those speaking out about failings in the system should be prioritised. He said it was essential to end the 'culture of fear' that prevents people from coming forward.
His report made 290 recommendations – one of which was that the Health Select Committee should monitor how they are being acted upon.