In Robert Francis’ words, the failings at Stafford Hospital were a “betrayal” of the public’s trust in the NHS.
Over the coming months, as the results of investigations into five more hospitals are published, we will see just how deep and wide-spread this abuse of trust has been.
There is a lack of good leadership in the NHS, exacerbated by a lack of respect for the work of managers by both politicians and clinicians.
The first-step in restoring trust is for Sir David Nicholson to resign and be replaced by someone from outside the NHS, with a clear vision for change.
The second is for politicians to start championing the essential role of good managers and leaders in the delivery of a world-class health-service, rather than dismissing them as ‘bureaucrats’ and ‘pen-pushers’.
Third is for the NHS (and other public bodies) to embrace transparency and develop channels that facilitate meaningful and ongoing engagement with the communities they serve.