A listener said that an item on the impending retirement of Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS England, gave the inaccurate impression that the Francis Report had found that there had been hundreds of avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital. In fact it had concluded that it would be unsafe to infer from the figures that there had been any particular number of avoidable or unnecessary deaths.
The report had been commissioned in the light of concerns about mortality rates, and had found evidence of very serious problems at the Trust. However it did not conclude that there had been “hundreds of avoidable deaths” and had warned against drawing such conclusions from the data. The ECU concluded that the reference to “the inquiry report into hundreds of avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital” had inaccurately characterised the Francis Report.
News teams have been re-briefed on the importance of clarity when discussing an issue as complex as this in a short summary.
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