Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day]
Andrew Lansley (Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Health; South Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who understands these matters extremely well. He is right about that, but let me anticipate what I was in any case going to say. Dr. Colin-Thomé points out how the SHA and the PCT failed to meet their responsibilities, saying that the
"PCTs past and present and SHAs past and present do not appear to have taken notice of signs that were present in the survey data and in complaints that indicated poor patient care.
Evidence of poor care has emerged that was not collated or challenged by the PCTs or SHAs at the time."
We know from the Healthcare Commission's report that clinical governance issues that were raised in 2002, and on which its predecessor organisations commented adversely, were exactly the same in 2008. Up until the trust became a foundation trust, the SHAs were responsible for the scrutiny of its performance, and they, in particular, clearly failed to address themselves to the quality of care that the trust provided—to the point at which, in March 2008, when the SHA board received the university of Birmingham's report on data, it said that
"there appeared to be nothing to indicate that anything out of the ordinary was taking place on mortality."
There was a woeful failure on the part of the SHA and the PCT. Notwithstanding the fact that Dr. Colin-Thomé makes it clear that there was such a failure, there is no indication in his review of who was responsible. On the issue of who was responsible, we are talking about David Nicholson, for about a year, who is now chief executive of the NHS, and Cynthia Bowers, subsequently, who is now chief executive of the Care Quality Commission. Standing at the Dispatch Box, I do not know whether I can say that they were directly—personally—responsible for those failings in a way that should be substantively criticised; I do know, however, that the motion is not about criticising any individual, but about establishing a public inquiry. However, I do not want anyone to think that, by calling for an inquiry, we have neglected the fact that the proper purpose of such a public inquiry is to find out whether two of the most senior people in the NHS, with responsibility for its services, have shown that they are credible or capable of such responsibility.