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A manifesto for doctors’ behaviours post-Francis

The following is the formal response – called Manifesto for Change – of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to the recommendations of the Francis Inquiry:

Robert Francis QC’s two-year inquiry revealed widespread failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust which led to avoidable deaths and suffering of patients at the hospital between 2005 and 2009. The final report, published in February 2013, presented 290 recommendations on the cultural change that is needed to ensure that patients are made a priority on the NHS and patient-centred care is adopted.

The Francis recommendations have serious implications on the way healthcare is provided and the structures and workforce that are needed to ensure that patients receive safe and high quality care on the NHS.

The RCOG has developed its position based on the following five themes:

1. Always put the patient first

2. Zero harm and patient safety

3. Creating outstanding leadership and working together as teams of professionals

4. Regulation, inspection and accountability

5. Metrics and outcomes

Each theme has principles outlining good medical practice followed by specific recommendations on how those working in obstetrics and gynaecology will improve services to women. These were drafted with the recommendations from the RCOG’s Working Party reports High Quality Women’s Health Care (2011) and Tomorrow’s Specialist (2012) in mind and are meant to complement the patient and health professional rights enshrined in the NHS Constitution (2013).

This document was developed by the officers of the RCOG in consultation with council members.

The RCOG would want its members to use the document as a reminder of the roles and responsibilities of individual doctors working in the NHS. It is hoped that all RCOG Members and Fellows sign up to the principles and commitments detailed in the document.

Dr Tony Falconer, RCOG president said “When the report of the Francis Inquiry was published, we felt that it was important to address the shortcomings of the NHS, where applicable to our specialty, and to ensure that his recommendations were seriously implemented.

“We have digested and analysed the findings and felt that it was important for us to address the key issues highlighted by Robert Francis in our own way. We thought that the best approach is to develop a Manifesto with a list of practical concepts and behaviours that are achievable for doctors working in our specialty. ”

“We are confident that our members, including our trainees, will welcome the principles outlined in this document and will be mindful of them in their daily practice. There will be some implementation groups that we will set up to carry forward some of the commitments.”

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