David Cameron has said it was time to “get back to some basic thoughts” about care in the NHS as the Government prepares to publish its response to the Mid-Staffordshire health scandal inquiry.
The Prime Minister said he was “convinced” the right plans were in place to make sure patient care was top priority.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to publish a formal response to the Francis Report, which found as many as 1,200 could have died needlessly as a result of maltreatment and neglect at the hospital, imminently.
Patients were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases or given the wrong medication.
Mr Cameron said: “I think the most important thing is for the NHS to focus on the patients, to focus on the users, and that is why I put such high regard on the friends and family test - that every hospital should carry out this test asking the staff, asking the patients ‘are you happy for your friends and family to be treated in this hospital?’.
“If we raise the profile of that, if it is on every ward in every hospital, then when you have got a problem, as we did at Mid-Staffs when you had a really quite small proportion of the staff working there saying they were happy with the hospital, the amber and the red lights will be flashing far, far faster and we will take action much quicker.
“But, in the end, it’s all about making sure we get back to some basic thoughts in the NHS about standards of care, about care and attention for patients and making sure we do right by them.
“That is the key and I’m very, very convinced that we have got the right plans in place to make that happen.”