Trainee doctors and nurses should be screened to see if they have a bad attitude towards patients to help prevent a repeat of the Stafford Hospital scandal, according to a senior medical professional.
Tony Hazell, chairman of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said trainees should be screened at an early stage to see whether they were likely to have an uncaring attitude.
He was speaking at a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Liverpool, as delegates discussed ways of preventing a repeat of events at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, where up to 1,200 patients are believed to have died due to poor care.
Prof Hazell said: “The whole issue of screening of people in training - we think this is very important.”
He added: “There is some real evidence that we need to look at this, to weed out and select people who are going to be the right people to do the job.”
Research in the US had found people who caused difficulties on training programmes were ten times more likely to have their fitness to practice medicine questioned later in their career, he said.
A public inquiry into deaths at Stafford Hospital will begin in the town’s civic centre next month.
The hearing, on Riverside, Stafford, will look into the monitoring of standards at the hospital between 2005 and 2009.
Liberal Democrat politician Lord Clement Jones, speaking at the same meeting, said there would be a public inquiry but warned that holding too many inquiries would not help explain what happened.
“The problem is that if you kick over all the entrails without actually coming to some conclusions and making some decisions then it doesn’t necessarily help others.
“It is almost as if the waters have closed over this particular trust and it couldn’t happen anywhere else.
“Well, I think many of us think it could happen in many, many other places.”