NHS boss hunted over ‘diabolical’ patient deaths

Conservative MPs are set to take on embattled NHS chief executive David Nicholson by signing a motion urging him to resign.

Tory backbencher Charlotte Leslie has tabled a Commons motion calling on Nicholson to take responsibility for the "diabolical catastrophe" of Mid-Staffordshire, where up to 1,200 patients died unnecessarily.

She notes a further 2,800 avoidable patient deaths have been registered at 14 other NHS trusts and calls on Nicholson to quit given his previous role as chief executive of West Midlands Strategic Health Authority.

"There has been a thunderous silence around the… scandal and relatives of those who died needlessly have been screaming into a vacuum for those in positions of authority who were responsible to be held to account," she told website publicservice.co.uk.

"Those involved must be held accountable for their actions and face the consequences. David Nicholson was then overall in charge of Mid Staffs.

"In no other walk of life would a man who had overseen such a diabolical catastrophe keep his job. So why should he be immune from responsibility? If talk of accountability is to mean anything at all, he must surely resign."

Stafford-based patients' organisation Cure The NHS will begin its own campaign to see Nicholson ousted from his job later this week.

Members of the group, frustrated by the Francis report's refusal to call for specific individuals to pay the price for the failures, will stand in silent vigil outside the NHS Commissioning Board's offices in Manchester on Thursday.

"Cure The NHS is a non-political group but we put our faith in this government to help us to cure the NHS, as Labour had let us down so badly in the past," it said.

"Imagine our shock when we heard that Robert Francis believed there should be no accountability for the disaster and the government agreed with him."

Earlier this month David Cameron defended Nicholson, saying the head of the NHS commissioning board "does a very good job".

"I'm impressed by the grip and grasp he has over the NHS and his knowledge, understanding and love for it and what he helps to deliver in terms of results," the prime minister said.

"It seemed to me that he had properly apologised and acknowledged the mistakes the regional health authority had made when he ran it for that short period of time as these events unfolded.

"I would point you towards what the report said – which is that we should not be seeking scapegoats.

"And I think to highlight David Nicholson in that way would be seeking a scapegoat. I don't think he should be made a scapegoat."