Francis: GPs must step up after-care
medwireNews: Sir Robert Francis QC has called on GPs to monitor the quality of secondary care services in his report of the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
GPs should always follow up patients who have received hospital care and must have systems in place to recognise 'patterns of concern', the report states among its 290 recommendations to improve NHS-wide standards of care.
"A GP's duty to a patient does not end on referral to hospital, but is a continuing relationship," Francis writes. "They will need to take this continuing partnership with their patients seriously if they are to be successful commissioners."
"They should exploit to the full this new role in ensuring patients get safe and effective care," he adds.
The report also states that while it will be the CQC - whose responsibilities will be combined with Monitor - who will set minimum standards of care, it is up to commissioners to drive them beyond these and hold providers to account when their contractual standards are not met.
"In all walks of life the buyer wants to ensure that he get what he pays for. Health should be no different," Sir Francis told the press.
GPs should flag concerns to the CQC and commissioners amid a new culture of 'openness, transparency and candour' advocated by the report.
RCGP chair, Dr Clare Gerada, said: "[We] need to create an environment in which health professionals right across the NHS can raise concerns on behalf of their patients without fear of recrimination , and where concerns will be properly and thoroughly investigated."
medwireNews is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012
By Kirsty Oswald