The long-awaited report from the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust scandal will not be published until next year, it has been confirmed.
Inquiry chairman Robert Francis today announced that he hopes to deliver the report – which is expected, among other things, to be critical of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) approach to regulation – to health secretary Jeremy Hunt in January 2013, three months later than expected.
Francis said: “The inquiry has heard a huge amount of evidence from many witnesses and organisations, and has gathered information from a number of seminars and visits.
“In addition, I need to complete a number of formal processes, to ensure any conclusions and recommendations I produce are fair and constructive. Pulling this together into the final report is a complex and sensitive process.
“In order to ensure thorough consideration of these matters, I have written to the health secretary to inform him that I now plan to complete my work in time to deliver my report to him by early January 2013.”
The inquiry was launched in 2010 after it emerged that poor standards of care had led to a higher than normal death rate at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital, became the focus of an investigation into why problems were not identified and acted on sooner. The 13-month inquiry drew to a close in December last year and the final report was due to be published on 15 October.
Roger Kline, who wrote this piece for Community Care on why the report could have serious implications for social care, said: “This delay is deeply regrettable. The NHS needs these recommendations urgently given the pressures on NHS staff which are affecting patients. Social care needs this report as soon as possible as it will have important implications for staff and service users here too.”