UK Politics

Francis inquiry into Stafford Hospital cost government £6m

Robert Francis
Image caption Robert Francis QC chaired the £13m public inquiry

The government spent £6m on submitting evidence to the Francis inquiry into Stafford Hospital failings, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed.

The public inquiry, led by Robert Francis QC, was triggered by a higher than expected number of deaths at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Mr Hunt provided a break down of the cost of providing evidence, in a written statement to Parliament.

It showed the majority of the £6m total (£5,227,000) was spent on legal advice.

The remainder covered the cost of dedicated staff working to prepare the evidence, their travel and subsistence expenses, and "other directly related costs".

'Fundamental change'

Mr Francis's inquiry looked at why the scandal at Stafford Hospital - where there was a higher-than-expected number of deaths as a result of abuse and neglect in 2005-08 - was not picked up earlier.

The inquiry ran for a year between 2010 and 2011, and took evidence from more than 160 witnesses over 139 days, at a cost of £13m.

More than a million pages of evidence were submitted.

The report concluded that patients had been "betrayed" because the NHS put corporate self-interest ahead of patients.

It argued for "fundamental change" in the culture of the NHS to make sure patients were put first.

In his written ministerial statement, Mr Hunt told Parliament officials had compiled the cost of submitting evidence to the inquiry.

"I can now report to the House that the expenditure incurred by the Department and NHS organisations in their role as witnesses amounted to £6m."

He said the government would publish a further response to the Francis report this autumn.

The findings of the Francis report into failings at Mid Staffs prompted a separate review of 14 NHS hospitals in England with high mortality rates.

As a result of that review, 11 of the hospitals have been placed in "special measures" for "fundamental breaches of care".

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