NHS boss 'unaware' of failings

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has told MPs that he was 'unaware' of the serious failing at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust despite holding senior positions there.

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Former health secretaries pledge support to NHS boss

Five former health secretaries have spoken out in support of Sir David Nicholson, who is due to face MPs this morning.

Former Labour health secretary Patricia Hewitt told The Independent she was "appalled" at the campaign against the NHS boss:

I have been appalled by the campaign against David Nicholson and I think it is grossly unfair.

If you have lost a family member in such distressing circumstances of course you are going to look for someone at the top of the organisation to be held responsible.

But the Francis Report makes clear Stafford happened because of a shocking lack of clinical and managerial governance for which the board of the hospital was responsible. David Nicholson is not.

Campaigners question impartiality of committee chair

Campaigners have questioned the impartiality of senior MP Stephen Dorrell, due to chair this morning's Health Select Committee hearing, after he publicly backed under fire NHS boss Sir David Nicholson. Mr Dorrell told Daily Telegraph columnist Sue Cameron:

I think David Nicholson is a distinguished public servant. He has been an extremely effective chief executive of the health service. He himself is an articulate advocate of the need for a more open culture in the NHS.

Julie Bailey, who set up the campaign group Cure The NHS after her mother Bella died at Stafford Hospital in 2007, said it was "inappropriate" for Mr Dorrell to have made the comment.

Stephen Dorrell already spoke out in defence of David Nicholson, saying that he should not be scapegoated. But he should be completely impartial. That raises suspicions with me.

I am hoping that the committee will recommend that David Nicholson is removed from his office, not only for the disaster at Mid Staffs but the disaster throughout the country.

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Under fire NHS chief to face MPs

Sir David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the National Health Service Credit: Press Association

The Chief Executive of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson, will face MPs this morning as he appears before the Health Committee. He will be questioned on the recent report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public pnquiry.

Also appearing are Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, and Liz Redfern, director of nursing, NHS South of England.

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