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Francis takes health watchdog role

The man who played a key role in highlighting the Stafford Hospital scandal has joined the healthcare watchdog.

Robert Francis QC has been appointed as a non-executive director on the board of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Mr Francis wrote two reports into the failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, shining the spotlight on the appalling treatment of patients.

The medical lawyer led an independent inquiry into the crisis-hit hospital after a report by the former health regulator, the Healthcare Commission, revealed that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected at the trust between April 2005 and March 2008.

His report, which was published in 2010, concluded that the hospital "routinely neglected" patients and displayed "systemic failings" in its approach to care.

But campaigners said that the independent inquiry did not go far enough and continued calls for a full public inquiry into the scandal.

Later that year Prime Minister David Cameron announced that there would be a full public inquiry, appointing Mr Francis as chairman.

In February 2013, Mr Francis published the report highlighting the "appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people" between 2005 and 2009.

Mr Francis called for a "zero tolerance" approach to poor standards of care in his damning report which made 290 sweeping recommendations for healthcare regulators, providers and the Government.

Speaking of his new appointment, Mr Francis said: " The CQC has a vital contribution to make towards people getting safe, compassionate and effective care.

"I am pleased to see that many of the recommendations I made in my reports on Mid Staffordshire for cultural change in the healthcare system and the CQC itself are being adopted.

"I hope to make a positive contribution to the work of CQC, supporting its current direction of travel and representing its work and its continuing development as a role model of transparency and openness."

David Prior, chairman of the CQC, added: "The appointment of Robert Francis makes a ve ry clear statement - the interests of patients, all those who receive care and their relatives will be at the heart of everything that CQC does."


From Belfast Telegraph