And like cancer, poor practice begins in isolated areas but then moves on to larger areas if untreated, he told delegates at a conference run by Action Against Medical Accidents (AAMA).
“There is always a challenge with a vast organisation that the culture will slip in little places and then bigger places. It is like a cancer,” Francis said
The AAMA said that the Francis report and the government’s response stressed the urgency to improve openness, transparency and candour in the NHS and in private healthcare.
As a result, from 1 April the NHS standard contract will include a duty of candour (to be open with patients about harm caused); the government has now agreed to bring a new statutory duty of candour covering all registered healthcare organisations (including GP practices and private healthcare) to be ‘policed’ by the CQC; there will be a ban on ‘gagging’ of NHS staff and greater emphasis on enabling staff to speak out; and there will be a requirement to submit and publish truthful data and information. Sanctions for those not complying may include a criminal liability.