It's a hot topic that is coming up in Midwifery Interviews at the moment; the Francis report and recommendations. I was having a chat with someone on a forum who is interviewing today (14th April 2014), and she was worried about how to address the topic.
I can understand why - it's obviously very important to have good knowledge of what the report was and what it means for midwives. However it's been dragged out messily in the press since 2000, and there are 290 suggestions to improve UK healthcare in the report.
It's also terribly distressing for healthcare professionals, as we care so much about patients and can't understand what went wrong. It reflects badly on all of us.
The whole case is a mess, it's hard to understand, and even harder to answer an interview question on it in a way that will impress interviewers.
To help, here's a summary of what went on:
The origins of the Francis report started off in Stafford, all the way back in 2000. There was a lady (Julie Bailey) whose mum died in Stafford hospital who started campaigning to get the NHS back on track. It became a big story in the press, and a big concern because the hospital in question had high mortality (death) rates compared with other hospitals.
The Healthcare Commission, which was the government organisation designed to make healthcare better at the time, found things were going wrong with the hospital big time stylies, on lots of levels. There were awful reports of patients having to drink water from flower vases because they couldn't get to water, or were left in their own urine, that kind of thing.
As an aside here, it's useful to know the 'Healthcare Commission' has turned into the 'Care Quality Commission' - and this year this commission has been criticised really badly, with 30 families who have been chronically neglected, and the guy in charge, the Secretary of State admitting 'It's not fit for purpose'.
With me so far? In summary, a hospital in Stafford got in trouble for high mortality rates, a government body tried to address things, but now the government body is coming under criticism as well.
Basically the Francis report came up with 290 recommendations for UK hospitals including:
- Better staffing, looking at a ward by ward basis; obviously a good thing for midwives (if it works!)
- Patient safety fellows to be put into hospitals (to be trained and to champion good care)
- If patients are neglected it will be a criminal offence as opposed to just being a disciplinary one
- A new care certificate will be mandatory for Health Care Assistants so they can be regulated better
- Nurse and Midwives will be allowed to whistleblow without getting into trouble with managers
This all sounds pretty good, and will hopefully improve patient care --- but, we're always trying things like this in government, there might not be that big of an improvement.
So, you should be able to craft your interview answer from these details. Here is how I would answer a question on the Francis Report:
Question: How do you think the Francis report will affect care in the future?
'It's awful so many people died or were given substandard care. It's really difficult to know exactly what went on in the hospital at the time, I think there were staffing issues and other big problems. I think i'd need to do a lot more research before judging any of the staff in that hospital - but it does motivate me to want to give really excellent care from the heart, and it also appears to be a good thing that reporting substandard care will be easier and the government is looking at staffing.
Obviously this is a really complex situation. I know the Royal College of Midwives approved of the protection for whistleblowers... but also it is slightly worrying the Government is making neglecting patients a Criminal Offence.
After all, it doesn't sound like entirely the Stafford Hospital staff's fault - although I take accountability very seriously, and always try to look after the women in my care in a way that I would want my sister or mother to be treated.'
Do you have anything to add to this information? I'd love to hear from you. And remember, if a friend or colleague is interviewing soon, Sharing is Caring, use the share buttons below 🙂