Making it better? Assuring high-quality care in the NHS


11 / 02 / 2013

The Francis report painted a shocking picture of appalling standards of patient care. This paper aims to start a constructive debate, leading to concrete proposals about how to tackle these issues and find ways of reinforcing both organisational and individual accountability for delivering and improving the quality of NHS patient care.

The Francis report highlighted poor management practices, and an organisational focus on national financial and performance imperatives to the detriment of the quality of patient care.

It also challenged the effectiveness of the regulatory and oversight mechanisms in identifying and tackling poor quality patient care proactively and systematically.

This has focused attention on who is responsible for ensuring patients receive high-quality care, and for acting if appropriate standards are not met. It has particularly highlighted how the decisions and actions of managers at all levels can affect the quality of care patients receive.

This has fuelled calls to make NHS organisations, their boards and individual staff, including managers, more accountable for the quality of care.

We have structured this paper to assess the current position and take account of some of the main recommendations of the Francis report. It presents for consideration some of the options for improvements. 

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