Press Release: 6.2.13

Comment on the Francis Report

Notes on a scandal: “Betrayal of public trust”

This is a heart breaking tally of neglect, cruelty and bullying.  Talk of putting patients at the centre of the healthcare system needs to become a reality. Much of what has been   revealed would not be tolerated in countries much less prosperous than ours, and money, therefore, is no excuse.

Gail Beer, Director of Operations at 2020health, states that: “Many senior staff working in the NHS and those who have left will feel very emotional today because they will identify with the bullying culture described by Francis. They will have tried to stand up for patients, often at the risk of losing their jobs.

The focus on behavioural change not organisational change will present a real challenge to NHS leaders and managers. They will be required to make fundamental changes to the way they work with clinical staff.   It is time for those entering management to be assessed for their motivation and compassion in the same way that doctors and nurses are.  But let us not forget that doctors and nurses must also step up to the leadership challenge posed by Francis, and not shy away from managing colleagues, however uncomfortable it may be.

We very much welcome the call for the Registration of Health Care Support Workers and the need for national training standards, as stated in ‘Too Posh To Wash: Reflections on the Future of Nursing’ (2013, p. 19) and support the call for an introduction of an older persons nursing qualification. However in order for this be successful it must be made an attractive qualification to have, and valued as a nursing specialism, not perceived as a ‘Cinderella service’. Caring for older patients must be viewed a vibrant and dynamic career move, not relegated to the sidelines of nursing interest. But in order to change this view, society as whole needs to reflect on how it treats elderly people: with dignity, respect and compassion, banishing the indifference and intolerance so often displayed.

It is inevitable that CQC and Monitor must merge – as we recommended in ‘The NHS as a National Asset’ (2011, p.6) It is clear that one regulator focusing on money and one on care has failed patients.

The notion of transparency and a “culture of candour” is of vital importance to the recommendations of Francis. The underlying processes and technology for our healthcare information systems must be able to be held up to the lens of public scrutiny, as covered in ‘Fixing NHS IT: A Plan of Action for New Government’ (2010), and not be open to cynical  manipulation.

The report calls into question how and why some trusts became Foundation Trusts. It is time to end this two tier system and stop wasting public money on pushing trusts into a Foundation Trust system which has—in this case—failed patients.

It is right and proper that progress on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Francis report be monitored. In the past reports have failed to be fully implemented, reducing their impact. In the case of Francis this cannot be allowed to happen or we will be letting down all those who have fought for this public enquiry.


Notes to Editors

  1. For more information call Julia Manning on 07973312358 / 0203170 7702 or Gail Beer on 07957122239


About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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