SCTS praised in Sir Donald Irvine’s evidence to the Mid Staffs Public Inquiry

January 3, 2012

The Public Inquiry into the events at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation, chaired by Robert Francis QC, has now completed questioning witnesses. This Inquiry followed concerns about standards of care at the Trust, confirmed in an investigation published by the Healthcare Commission in March 2009 and a subsequent Independent Inquiry (which was also Chaired by Robert Francis). The Public Inquiry has heard evidence from patients, their relatives, staff , health service managers, regulators and commissioners of healthcare along with the leaders of the NHS. Much of the evidence given seems to highlight an inappropriate culture within the NHS which has allowed the unacceptable events in Mid Staffs to take place.

Sir Donald Irvine is a Past President of the General Medical Council, where he focussed on improving quality of practice and reforming medical regulation. He is Honorary Professor, School of Health, University of Durham; a Vice-President of the Patients Association; President, Age UK Northumberland; Chair of Picker Institute Europe and a Board member of Picker Institute Inc, Boston, US. In 2004, whilst at the GMC, Sir Donald was responsible for the development of the document Good Medical Practice, which sets out the duties and responsibilities of every UK doctor and the standards that underpin modern medical education and regulation.

Sir Donald is a passionate advocate for patient centred healthcare with a leading international reputation though which he stresses the need to move towards a modern medical professionalism, which places patients and their care unequivocally at the very heart of health care delivery at all times. He contributed to the SCTS publication Maintaining Patients’ Trust, and more recently he has been involved in meetings with leading North American Organisations about the principles behind optimal healthcare delivery. Following previous communications with the Mid Staffs Public Inquiry, Sir Donald has given further written evidence to Robert Francis, in which he outlines some of the lessons he has learnt from leading North American Hospitals and contrasts them with the prevailing culture in the NHS. As part of this evidence he praises the SCTS initiative to collect and publish clinical outcomes. Sir Donald says the SCTS have demonstrated that ‘they have become far more patient-centred, and now see the demonstration of excellent surgery as a hallmark of their professionalism. At the moment they are a one off on both sides of the Atlantic. They would make an excellent case history if the Inquiry were looking to demonstrate what success can look like.’

Click here to read his letter in full.