HEALTHCARE regulator Monitor has accepted 'without hesitation' responsibility for its part in the scandal at Stafford Hospital.
Responding to the publication of the Francis Report, which said the disaster was caused by a failure of the NHS system at every level, a spokesman for the organisation said they 'profoundly and sincerely' regretted the events and the 'shocking experiences' of patients and their families.
"The standard of care that patients received was unacceptable," he said. "We accept without hesitation our share of responsibility for failures in regulation during the period in question.
"We authorised a trust which in retrospect should not have been authorised and could have used our formal intervention powers sooner once problems had been uncovered."
He said the organisation had already made significant changes to the way it worked as a result of what happened.
"For example, we will not authorise an NHS Trust without the Care Quality Commission’s assurance that it has no major concerns about the quality of care," he said. "We incorporate an explicit assessment of a Board’s role in ensuring the quality of care into our regulatory judgement about whether a foundation trust, or a trust applying for foundation status, is well-run.
He said Monitor was working very closely with the CQC, sharing information about concerns in foundation trusts and applicant trusts and jointly commissioning further investigations where necessary.
"We take action as soon as problems are identified in foundation trusts, using our statutory powers when that’s the best way to bring about change," he said.
"In preparing for our expanded role as sector regulator we are continuing this strong emphasis on quality governance in foundation trusts and we continue to work closely with the Care Quality Commission."
He said the regulator welcomed the report and the necessary focus it brings to what went wrong in the regulation and oversight of the trust and vowed to study the report more carefully and apply new lessons where it found them.