It is the responsibility of the board of the trust, with the new leadership in place, to ensure it fully implements the recommendations made within the Healthcare Commission's (HC) report. The trust is producing an action plan to implement the recommendations that it will agree with Care Quality Commission (CQC). Monitor, the foundation trust (FT) regulator, will hold the trust to account for delivery of the action plan. CQC, which replaced the HC on 1 April 2009, has informed us that they plan to take stock with the trust and Monitor at three months and perform a follow up review in approximately six months time to provide the necessary assurance that all the recommendations in the HC's report have been satisfactorily addressed.
David Nicholson, chief executive of the national health service, wrote to all NHS organisations on 18 March 2009 urging NHS leaders to ensure that the recommendations set out in the report are fully understood by boards and that any local actions necessary are implemented with immediate effect. In addition, Monitor has written to all FTs making clear the expectation that their boards should consider the contents and recommendations of the HC report and implement any actions to ensure they do not breach their terms of authorisation. In his letter, the chief executive made clear that where senior NHS management and boards fail to act in the light of the HC recommendations to assure the ongoing quality and safety of the care they provide, they must and will be held accountable.
In addition, Professor Sir George Alberti is undertaking a rapid review at Stafford of the procedures for emergency admissions to ensure the trust is providing the best service it can to patients, building on the progress already made in implementing the recommendations of the HC. Dr. David Colin-Thomé is undertaking a rapid local review to identify what the people who commission NHS services and manage the performance of these services across England can learn from this case. The new National Quality Board (NQB) has been asked to look at how we can ensure that any early signs that something is going wrong with patient care are picked up immediately, that the right organisations are alerted, and that action is taken quickly. (The NQB is comprised of representatives from the Royal Colleges, patient groups, regulatory bodies and clinical experts, and has been set up to look at how organisations work together to improve the quality of patient care and patient experience.) Any recommendations arising from these reviews will be shared with the wider NHS for action as necessary.