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Francis won’t be drawn on resignation of NHS head in wake of Mid Staffordshire inquiry

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1419 (Published 01 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1419
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

Robert Francis QC, whose inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust damned systemwide failings in care, has refused to be drawn into calls for the resignation of the head of the NHS.

Francis was asked directly at a King’s Fund conference of health experts in London on 27 February whether David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board, should resign.

The question was put by Nick Timmins, a senior fellow at the Institute for Government and the King’s Fund, who noted that the inquiry had insisted that there should be no “scapegoats” while demanding greater accountability in the NHS.

Francis said that he would not answer the question as it was not the job of a public inquiry to “put someone on trial” or “pronounce sentence” on individuals.

He said, “Had that approach been adopted, this inquiry would have lasted …

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