NHS boss David Nicholson tells MPs he should not be sacked
Embattled health service chief says politicians must take blame for 1,200 who died in Mid Staffs crisis
EMBATTLED health service boss Sir David Nicholson told MPs today he should keep his job, despite accepting some of the blame for failings that led to the Mid Staffordshire scandal, The Times reports.
Nicholson told members of the Commons health select committee that the NHS had lost focus at the time of the crisis which led to the deaths of as many as 1,200 patients. But while he admitted he was "in that system and part of it" he was ultimately not to blame for the crisis because politicians had created a regime where "patients were not at the centre".
At the time, national targets meant that NHS managers had to concentrate on issues such as casualty waiting times and hospital superbugs like MRSA and C diff, he said.
Relatives of patients who died at Stafford Hospital have demanded Nicholson’s resignation and Tory MP Charlotte Leslie has tabled a Commons motion calling for him to "face consequences" for the scandal. But Nicholson has the support of David Cameron and told the health select committee that he had "promised the government and the NHS" that he would lead the service through the coming health reforms.
"In the next few days we will abolish over 160 organisations and we will set up another 211 local organisations and a whole myriad of national ones. We'll completely change the way in which we allocate resources and incentivise the NHS," he said.
Nicholson said the health service was at "maximum risk" as the controversial changes are implemented because it has lost 13,500 administration and management staff to cost cutting.
Under what the Times called "aggressive" questioning from MPs, Nicholson "absolutely and categorically" denied he had tried to silence whistleblowers. He said he had not sanctioned the £500,000 deal reached by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust with former chief executive Gary Walker, which required him to keep quiet about his concerns about the trust. Nicholson urged any staff with concerns about safety to speak out or write to him directly.
This afternoon it was announced that services at Stafford Hospital will be dramatically scaled back in the wake of the scandal. The hospital will lose its blue-light A&E services, acute care and most maternity services, the Times reports. Services at neighbouring Cannock Hospital, which is also run by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, will also be curtailed. ·