Editorial: Don't overburden GPs after Mid Staffs

The full government response to the 290 recommendations contained in the Francis report on the failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is expected next month.

Immediately after the report's release this month, prime minister David Cameron acted by promising a new chief inspector of hospitals to monitor standards of care and to make it easier for failings in care provision to trigger the dismissal of NHS managers.

Future action is difficult to predict but already, there are question marks over what has been proposed. Will new criminal sanctions make it less attractive for lay people to take on non-executive director roles on hospital trust boards?

Is enhanced regulation the answer when a plethora of regulatory bodies were up and running, yet failing to detect the problems that developed in Mid Staffordshire?

One of the more interesting contributions to the debate has been from former GP columnist Dr Chris Lancelot, who now blogs exclusively for GPonline.com. He asks whether anyone has yet diagnosed the problem at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and suggests mass staff burnout.

On pages 19 and 20, GP looks at what Francis means for GPs. The Medical Protection Society fears the 'duty of candour' proposed for GPs will not inspire the cultural change the NHS requires.

Elsewhere there are concerns about the requirement on GPs to monitor secondary care, with a plethora of new providers entering the market under the any qualified provider banner.

It is imperative that in the NHS post-Francis, there is zero tolerance for poor and dangerous care, with less emphasis on top-down targets and greater opportunities for local communities to shape the care they receive. CCGs will give GPs greater abilities to hold secondary care providers to account and contracts should generate data which could act as a smoke alarm.

The task for the government is to ensure that the outcome of such progress is not to overload GPs with enhanced regulation, making burnout more likely, but instead, to give them greater freedom to blow the whistle on poor and dangerous care.

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