Defiant Nicholson won’t quit


NHS Chief Executive, Sir David Nicholson, who presided over the Mid Stafford Hospital disaster where there were more than 1,000 unnecessary deaths, yesterday refused to resign as NHS chief executive.

Nicholson, who has been promoted by prime minister Cameron to his present position, was grilled by MPs who considered that he should resign over his role in the Stafford Hospital scandal.

He even told the Health Select Committee: ‘At the moment the NHS is facing its greatest challenge.

‘In the next few days we will abolish over 160 organisations and we will set up another 211 local organisations and a whole myriad of national ones.

‘We’ll completely change the way in which we allocate resources and incentivise the NHS. . .

‘So it is at maximum risk over the next few days.

‘I said two years ago that I would take the responsibility of leading the NHS through this enormously complex set of changes.

‘I promised both the government and the NHS that I would see that through and I am absolutely determined to do that over the next period.’

Forty MPs have demanded Nicholson’s resignation over the Stafford deaths, where many hundreds of patients died needlessly.

He was head of the health authority that oversaw the hospital.

Since then he has been made NHS chief executive, by a government that has been talking about criminal charges for some of the MidStaffs workers who Nicholson was in charge of.

Nicholson’s appearance before MPs yesterday came a month after the publication of the Francis Report of the public inquiry into the scandal.

He unbelievably claimed yesterday that the regional health authority had ‘no idea’ what was going on at the Mid Stafford trust.

‘The information was not brought to the strategic health authority, we did not see any of the information which would lead you to believe that there was all of this going on in Mid Staffordshire.’

Nicholson was in post for 10 months between 2005 and 2006, at the height of the failings in care, before climbing up the NHS hierarchy to take the top job.

Nicholson admitted to the committee: ‘During that period, across the NHS as a whole, patients were not the centre of the way the system operated’.

Cameron has made it clear in recent weeks that Nicholson has his backing.

The Labour Party has said the same.

Yesterday, Cameron’s official spokesman said he thought he had done ‘a very good job’ as chief executive and that he was ‘impressed with his knowledge and understanding of the NHS’. Trade union leaders yesterday kept quiet over the issue.