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Leading UK figure in public health to speak at Waitemata DHB

9 October 2013

Leading UK figure in improving public healthcare quality to speak at Waitemata DHB

A prominent UK figure in the improvement of healthcare service quality will be speaking at a public event at Waitemata DHB this week.

Robert Francis QC – a UK barrister whose 40 year career in handling medical cases has earned him the tag of “the patient’s champion” – will be at Waitemata DHB over two days later this week.

Mr Francis most recently chaired the inquiry into the running of the Mid Staffordshire National Health Service Foundation between January 2005 and March 2009. The inquiry found numerous failings in the quality of care provided to patients, including a culture which failed to prioritise patients first, a focus on financial management at the expense of service quality, poor standards of care in some areas, and inadequate processes for dealing with complaints and serious incidents.

Waitemata DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley says Mr Francis’ visit is an opportunity to hear first-hand the learnings from the UK’s National Health Service.

“Robert Francis advocates for the importance of a common culture of putting patients first, a strong adherence to fundamental standards of quality of care and strong clinical leadership – something we are deeply committed to at Waitemata DHB.”

Along with the Mid Staffordshire Trust inquiry, Mr Francis has served as barrister in a high profile, three year inquiry into the deaths of 29 babies undergoing heart operations at Bristol Royal Infirmary and at the inquiry into the unauthorised removal and retention of organs at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

“His visit is a great opportunity to learn first-hand about the very real consequences that result when healthcare organisations lose sight of patient care as our first priority,” says Dr Bramley.

“Waitemata DHB is now recognised as a national leader in many areas of health quality, including in electronic prescription of medicines, the handling of complaints, and for our rapid improvements in quality outcomes that have occurred in recent years – Mr Francis’ visit is part of our DHB’s ongoing long term aim of further improving patient care.”

Mr Francis will deliver a public lecture on October 10 as part of Waitemata DHB’s CEO Lecture Series. This event, which has been sponsored by law firm Claro, starts at 4.30pm on October 10 at North Shore Hospital.

Along with the public event, Mr Francis will meet with DHB Board members as well as key clinical and management staff before heading to Wellington the following week. He will give the keynote address at a forum there on October 14 as well as meet with a number of health sector leaders, including Health Minister Tony Ryall and Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew.

He has been brought to New Zealand through a partnership between Waitemata District Health Board, the Health Quality & Safety Commission, and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.


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