Poll reveals public distrust of NHS governance
An opinion poll by ICM Research found that 78 per cent of the public back our call, in conjunction with the Patients Association, for an independent inquiry into the supervision of NHS hospitals.
It comes as The Sunday Telegraph’s Heal Our Hospitals campaign has attracted pledges of support from more than 1,000 readers.
The call has been backed by Dr Phil Hammond, the writer and broadcaster, and by MPs from all three main parties.
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said “An independent inquiry is needed so that we can learn the lessons from this scandal.”
Nine out of 10 people per cent agree that nurses should focus on patient care rather than form filling, while eight out of 10 per cent want a review of hospital targets to ensure they work to improve quality of care.
Stafford’s former chief executive Martin Yeates was suspended on full pay following the scandal and could receive a generous pay off.
The poll also found that two-thirds of people want a stronger voice for patients in the running of their hospitals, following claims that local NHS watchdogs lack the power to hold chiefs to account.
Six out of ten per cent back the routine publication of comprehensive mortality rates.
It can also be revealed that Stafford Hospital is unable to give stroke patients and pregnant women vital scans over the week-end because of a shortage of qualified staff.
Patients presenting with a stroke on a Friday evening have had to wait 48 hours for a scan, thereby reducing their chance of a full recovery. Women suspected of suffering from potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancies face similar delays.
In a blow to Labour the ICM poll found opinion evenly split on which party could be most trusted to run the health service.
The labour Government and the Tories polled 35 per cent each, despite Labour having long been regarded by voters as the party of the NHS.
One NHS campaign group warned that a repetition of the Stafford scandal was “absolutely inevitable”.
Geoff Martin, head of campaigns at the Health Emergency pressure group, said: “NHS Trusts are run as managerial fiefdom.”