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RCP comments on the government’s Francis Inquiry response

Dr Patrick Cadigan, registrar and lead officer for the Francis Inquiry, said:

The RCP welcomes government’s focus on preventing and detecting problems in hospitals. A focus on clear information regarding hospital standards is welcome. The RCP commits to working with the government and the Care Quality Commission to make a Chief Inspector of Hospitals a valuable contribution to the patient safety and quality improvement landscape. In particular, the RCP welcomes the recognition of the contribution of peer review to this process.

However, the government is right to recognise that a rating system for hospitals will be complex and should consider the different types of care and services provided in varying wards to the full range of patients.

The RCP believe that the professionalism of doctors is crucial to improving standards and preventing instances of sub-standard care. The RCP has worked to define and communicate doctors’ professionalism via our working party reports, Doctors in society and Future physician and have been instrumental in the establishment of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.

The RCP is currently working on a detailed response to the Francis Inquiry. It will include:

  • A commitment to embed Francis’s recommendations in the RCP’s groundbreaking FutureHospital Commission, which is reviewing the standards of hospital inpatient care and will report in summer 2013.
  • Plans to launch a Commissioning Hub, which will provide commissioners with quality standards for procuring hospital services and provide support for doctors working within commissioning structures.
  • More detailed responses regarding Robert Francis QC’s recommendations on standards, education and training, commissioning and information.

The RCP looks forward to the line-by-line response to the Francis Inquiry from the government. Particular areas we call on the government to consider include:

  • Developing fundamental standards of patient care that are instantly recognisable to patients and doctors and other health professionals have ownership of. The RCP has already begun work in this area.
  • Ensuring the NHS Commissioning Board supports local commissioning structures to embed quality improvement requirements into commissioning contracts
  • Making the electronic patient record a reality so that patients have ownership of their medical records and information about patients’ care can be shared more easily between healthcare professionals and providers.

The RCP published an initial response to the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, the ‘Francis Inquiry’, on 7 February that detailed our work regarding:

  • Patient safety and quality improvement
  • Information
  • Patient involvement
  • Dignity
  • Professionalism


For further information, please contact Linda Cuthbertson, head of PR, on +44 (0)203 075 1254 / 0774 877 7919, or email Linda.Cuthbertson@rcplondon.ac.uk