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Doctors discuss NHS failings after Mid Staffs scandal

29 June 2009

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Doctors are set to discuss “system failures” in the NHS at the start of their annual conference in Liverpool.

British Medical Association (BMA) members plan to demand that the Department of Health admits full responsibility for errors caused by political policy implemented via “perverse incentives”, targets and performance management.

Doctors will also discuss the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, and the “commercialisation” of the NHS.

Failures at Stafford are at risk of happening elsewhere, according to one motion set for debate. Another motion calls upon the government to hold an independent inquiry into the impact of “crude” targets that affect the NHS after the Mid Staffs scandal.

In March, a Healthcare Commission blasted “shocking” and “appalling” standards of care at Mid Staffs, which led to the deaths of some patients.

In a three-year period, between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected, with Stafford Hospital showing the worst example of care.

The BMA has issued new guidance for doctors who have patient safety concerns, urging doctors to raise fears about malpractice or failures in the system, rather than allowing the situation to reach a point which puts patients at risk.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Medical Association