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  1. National

Hunt: Mid Staffs 'a turning point like Chernobyl'

Jeremy Hunt has compared the Mid Staffs scandal to Chernobyl and the Bhopal gas disaster in an interview with ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener.

The Health Secretary said the accidents - both of which killed thousands and left many more injured - were "turning points" for their industries.

He said he hoped Mid Staffs would mark a similar change in the NHS.

Asked if similar negligence extended across the system, Mr Hunt said front-line staff have warned that "Mid Staffs wasn't just something that happened in one hospital".

  1. National

RCM: Patient safety 'about the right numbers of staff'

NHS patients are best protected when wards have the right number of staff working, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of midwives, initially praised Jeremy Hunt's plans to make the NHS safer, but raised concerns over low staff numbers and lack of protection for whistleblowers.

I worry that I have heard this before from Governments without any real progress being made.

Safety is about having the right numbers of staff and high-performing teams working together to deliver the best care, and this is crucial if we are to deliver safe maternity care.

Safety also needs NHS staff being treated properly with trusts promoting open, honest and caring cultures if they are to get the best out of them; you can only have candour if staff feel their concerns will be listened to, they are treated with compassion and that they will be given the support they need.

– Cathy Warwick

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  1. National

Hunt: Mid-Staffs must be 'a turning point' in NHS culture

The Mid-Staffs scandal, in which appalling conditions lead to hundreds of patients dying prematurely, should be "a turning point" in NHS culture, Jeremy Hunt has said.

In a speech at the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, the Health Secretary outlined plans to create a "more open, compassionate and transparent culture" in the health service.

It is my clear ambition that the NHS should become the safest healthcare system anywhere in the world.

I want the tragic events of Mid Staffs to become a turning point in the creation of a more open, compassionate and transparent culture within the NHS.

We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save lives and prevent avoidable harm - which will empower staff and save money that can be reinvested in patient care.

Hospitals are already 'signing up to safety' as part of this new movement - and I hope all NHS organisations will soon join them.

– Jeremy Hunt
  1. National

Hunt announces review of NHS safety thresholds

The point at which hospitals have to tell a patient they have been harmed will be reviewed by the Government as part of an updated "duty of candour" for the NHS, the Health Secretary has announced.

Under the plans patients can check safety records on the "How Safe is my Hospital" section of the NHS website from June. Credit: PA

Speaking at the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Jeremy Hunt outlined plans to revise the legal threshold at which hospitals have to inform patients and suggested those at the lower end of the scale would not be told.

The Government caused outrage last November when it said the duty of candour should mean patients and families are only told of harm if it results in death or severe disability.

However, in his speech, Mr Hunt outlined plans aimed at reducing the £1.3 billion the NHS annually spends on litigation and saving 6,000 lives over the next three years.

He said NHS organisations will be invited to "sign up to safety" and set out publicly their ambitious plans for reducing avoidable harm, such as medication errors, blood clots and bed sores.

NHS trust to be sentenced over Stafford Hospital death

The NHS trust is facing a large fine Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust will be sentenced today after pleading guilty to safety breaches over the death of a diabetic patient.

Gillian Astbury, 66, died at Stafford Hospital in 2007 after two nurses failed to give her insulin.

Gillian Astbury died in 2007 after entering a diabetic coma Credit: Anthony Collins Solicitors/PA Wire/Press Association Images

She had been admitted in April 2007 for treatment for fractures to her arm and pelvis.

The inquest found low staffing levels and a systemic failure to provide adequate nursing facilities were both contributory factors.

Fight is too hard for public inquiries - health campaigner

Health campaigner, Julie Bailey, has told a parliamentary committee that people who have suffered wrongdoing should not have to fight so hard to get a public inquiry.

She gave evidence at Westminster earlier to a committee looking into the rules surrounding the setting-up of inquiries. Julie Bailey lost her mother, Bella, in the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal and went on to set-up the campaign group, Cure the NHS.

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More time to decide Mid Staffs health funding

Special administrators at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust have been granted 40 more days to decide on future funding arrangements for health services in the area.

Mid Staffs Hospital Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A report published in July found the trust to be clinically and financially unsustainable.

More time granted on Staffordshire hospitals funding

Healthcare bosses have been given an additional 40 days to reach an agreement on the funding of essential services at two Staffordshire hospitals.

A report found Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust to be 'unsustainable'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Administrators were appointed by health watchdog Monitor earlier this year to look at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stafford and Cannock Chase Hospitals, after a draft report found the trust to be clinically and financially unsustainable.

The findings proposed that the trust be dissolved and some essential services moved to hospitals in neighbouring areas, while also recommending that the A&E department be retained.

However, an agreement is still to be reached on how to pay for the services and interested parties have now been given an extended period to finalise a deal.

Monitor chief executive David Bennett said: "We need to find an answer to the question of who will be providing what funding to secure the future of essential patient services in Mid Staffordshire."

"We are giving extra time for the interested parties to reach agreement over the next few weeks, in order to ensure that patients continue to get the services they need and the taxpayer gets value for money."

  1. Rupert Evelyn - ITV News Correspondent
  2. National

Patient's friend: Individuals 'not held to account'

Ron Street, a friend of Gillian Astbury's, has said: "Today’s acknowledgement of guilt by the Trust does little by way of justice against those individuals who permitted such unsafe practices for so long".

"Senior members of the [Mid Staffordshire NHS] Trust Board, who were responsible for implementing this system of unsafe work at the hospital whilst Gillian was in their care, have never been held to account"

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