Mid staffs hospital

The Francis report on mid-Staffs makes grim reading, and there’s no doubting the justified anger of relatives. But it’s an interesting tension, between isolating individual incompetents to blame, and seeing what’s wrong with the overall picture. On that Francis is in no doubt: “corporate self-interest and cost control have resulted in poor quality care.”

I’m not sure Cameron read that bit. But he’s as confident as ever. The solution to one kind of bullying is another kind of bullying – peg the nurses’ pay to how much they care. Oh, right. That should be easy enough. Just a few thousand people with clipboards, wandering round the wards.

Ironic that a key part of Francis’ solution is duty of candour. Nurses have to say if conditions are wrong; hospitals have to listen if relatives complain. But we’re still meant to believe that this massive destructive reorganisation is about improving the service, rather than creating a market for private firms. By the time they’re honest about that, it will be far too late.