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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

What happened at Stafford Hospital. Legal aspects of the inquiry into needless deaths

Published: 11 February 2013

Robert Francis QC, the chair of the independent public inquiry into avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital, will be discussing the legal aspects of his report into the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust with the Southampton Law School’s Professor Jonathan Montgomery at the University of Southampton on Monday 4 March 2013.

Caring for Patients not Systems: Reflections on the Mid-Stafford Inquiry has been organised by the Law School’s Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation (CLEG) and Health Ethics and Law Network (HEAL) with Hickman & Rose Solicitors. It will be the first in a series of annual lectures. Daniel Machover, Head of Civil Litigation at Hickman & Rose, will chair the discussion.

The public inquiry followed a Healthcare Commission report into unusually high death rates at Stafford Hospital; it found ‘appalling’ care and neglect of patients between 2005 and 2008. Robert Francis’s report revealed up to 1200 patients were let down by a culture that put reducing costs and achieving targets above the quality of care.

The inquiry report, which was published on 6 February, raises fundamental questions about the culture of the NHS, professional and managerial values and how to ensure that caring for patients is the first and paramount concern of health services. Its 290 recommendations provide an opportunity to reconsider the values of humanity and dignity and how to promote them.

Jonathan Montgomery is Professor of Health Care Law at the Southampton Law School. He chairs the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent body that examines and reports on ethical issues in biology and medicine and the Health Research Authority. Jonathan has chaired Hampshire NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) and now chairs the SHIP Cluster of PCTs, which commission local health services in Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.

Co-Director of CLEG Oren Ben-Dor, Professor of Law and Philosophy, says: “This event marks a unique collaboration between legal academics and practitioners. The subject of this lecture will vary from year to year and the series will constitute a platform to link domestic issues to the growing challenges posed by globalisation. I look forward to hearing Jonathan’s discussion with Robert Francis.”

Hickman & Rose is a high profile London criminal justice and human rights specialist firm, founded in 1991. It is listed in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and in Legal 500 for its criminal, human rights and civil liberties work. In 2009 the firm was commended in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report for its work in the crime and universal justice categories.

The event will be held at 6.00pm on Monday 4 March 2013 in Physics Lecture Theatre A on Highfield Campus. A question and answer session will follow the discussion. To book tickets see Caring for Patients not Systems event.

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