STAFFORD MP Jeremy Lefroy has quashed rumours the Francis Report was leaked to the press ahead of its publication date.
Responding to increased coverage of the forthcoming final report of the inquiry into the failings in care at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009, Mr Lefroy has said pre-emptive articles are nothing more than speculation.
“Robert Francis is not the sort of person who is going to leak anything to anyone,” he said. “As far as I am aware it’s all speculation at this point.
“The point to make is that clearly the Francis Inquiry is going to have massive repercussions for the whole of the NHS and hopefully they will be positive one,” said Mr Lefroy. “But clearly we are focussed here on the people of Stafford.”
He said he wasn’t sure whether the Labour Party had put down an urgent question for parliament over whether or not there had been a leak, but said he thought it unlikely.
“What I will be saying is that this whole inquiry has got to be taken seriously and not subject to leaks.
“It would surprise me if Robert Francis didn’t make that very clear.
“In a discussion I had about 18 months ago with the Royal College of Physicians they said to me that this is the single most important inquiry into the NHS in the last 20 years and nothing has happened since then to change that.
“If anything it’s probably more true now than it ever was.”
A spokesman for the Inquiry told the Newsletter last week that the report would be delivered to the Secretary of State for Health in January and he would then lay it before parliament at a later date at his discretion.
She said the local press would be given advance notice as soon as a publication date was formalised.