Eversheds, One Crown Office Row advise as damning NHS report is released

Eversheds played a lead role advising on an inquiry chaired by Serjeants’ Inn Chambers silk Robert Francis QC into the failings of Stafford Hospital after hundreds of hospital patients died over a three-year period.

One Crown Office Row also played a major role in the inquiry, with a raft of its barristers representing the various parties involved in the matter (see below).

The long-awaited, 1,700-page report, which was published this week, outlines 290 recommendations that would improve healthcare standards and trigger a “fundamental culture change” at the NHS.

The £13m inquiry, which has been hailed as uncovering one of the biggest scandals to hit the NHS, was ordered after regulators exposed the hospital’s high mortality rate and failings of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, between 2005 and 2009.

Eversheds inquiries and investigations head Peter Jones led the team advising the inquiry. “The report makes it clear that the answer is not wholesale structural reform,” he commented in a statement sent to The Lawyer. “Instead, the key themes running through the chairman’s recommendations focus on culture.

“The report makes clear that there’s a need for a wholesale change to the culture underpinning the NHS. Whatever the system it will fail unless there’s a proper culture that permeates from the top to the bottom, with safety and patients at the top of the list.”

Meanwhile, Leigh Day & Co human rights solicitor Emma Jones, who represented 120 of the victims and their families, said that the Government needs to implement the “zero tolerance” measures submitted by Francis and make the patient the “first priority” in all that the NHS does. One Crown Office Row’s Jeremy Hyam and Kate Beattie also represented patients and relatives in the Cure the NHS group.

Other legal advisers involved in the matter are:

For the Primary Care Trusts: Browne Jacobson.

For the Health Care Compliance Association (HCC): Mills & Reeve.

For the Strategic Health Authority (SHA): Hill Dickinson and One Crown Office Row’s Sally Smith QC and Christopher Mellor.

For the Care Quality Commission (CQC): Bevan Brittan and One Crown Office Row’s David Hart QC.

For Monitor, an independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts: SNR Denton.

For the NHS Litigation Authority: One Crown Office Row’s Owain Thomas.

For Action Against Medical Accidents (AVMA) and the Patients Association: Kingsley Napley and One Crown Office Row’s Peter Skelton and Shaheen Rahman.

The Department of Health and Stafford Hospital are understood to have been advised in-house with One Crown Office Row’s Adam Wagner acting as counsel.