Lesley Griffiths: NHS staff 'should report care concerns'

There are also calls for the way the NHS in deals with complaints to be beefed up

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NHS staff should not have to resort to whistle blowing when they are worried about standards, Health Minister Lesley Griffiths says.

She was taking part in a Welsh assembly debate about the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal.

The Welsh government said it would use the findings of the Francis report to improve care at Welsh hospitals.

Mrs Griffiths said staff should be taking action when they see poor practices.

'Open and transparent'

They should also be supported by their employers, she said.

She said she wanted an "open and transparent culture in the NHS", adding: "Staff should not have to resort to whistle blowing."

Mrs Griffiths also said officials were working on improving the transparency and accuracy of data on the health service.

She said they would look at a Plaid Cymru proposal to publish information about the performance of hospitals online.

Plaid said it should be modelled on a website launched by the Welsh government recently to provide parents with more information about their children's schools.

Plaid health spokeswoman Elin Jones said it would be "irresponsible" to think the failings highlighted in the Francis report could not happen on wards in Welsh hospitals.

Neglect and abuse at Stafford hospital led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths between 2005 and 2008.

The chairman of the inquiry, Robert Francis QC, said the failings went right to the top of the health service.

Conservative spokesman Darren Millar said there was "no reason why it couldn't have been a similar report which was published in respect of Welsh hospitals".

Individual cases of poor standards of care and dignity had been highlighted by watchdogs in Wales, he said.

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Aled Roberts said the assembly's public accounts committee had heard of cases where the protection for whistle blowers in the health service and other public bodies was deficient.

The Welsh government's full response to the Francis report will be published before the summer.

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