HEALTH bosses need to listen to patients and staff and spend more time visiting wards in the wake of the Francis Report, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s board of directors have agreed.

It comes as Bolton’s Clinical Commissioning Group announced it is launching a watchdog committee — the Star Chamber — to scrutinise the affect of hospital cuts on quality and safety.

At the Trust’s board meeting, non-executive board member Mark Harrison said the board needed to visit wards and speak to staff.

He also said that they needed to check quality was not going to be affected by cuts.

We have a big turnaround project that we are just seeing results from and we still haven’t looked at quality assurance in terms of this turnaround project.

“I know it is being done in the background, but as a board we have not seen this.”

He added that quality and assurance reports should be brought to the board each month.

Mr Harrison also said more time should be spent getting “real intelligence” from the wards.

His comments came as interim chairman David Wakefield said the Trust needed to become a “listening organisation”.

Mr Wakefield added he had received a letter from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the day the Francis Report was published, in which he urged Trust boards to use the report as a tool for improving patient care.

Mr Wakefield added: “It said there is a great deal to learn from this challenging moment in the NHS.

“But the question is, how do we become a listening organisation?

“We want to demonstrate that we are listeners and that means exposing ourselves to every staff member.

“I think it is really important to us that we get out and about and are seen to do that.”

The board was told there would be a full response from the Trust to the action plan at the next public board meeting in April and a “very big action plan”.

Non-executive director Carol Davies said the Turnaround Plan at the Trust meant the “Francis Report for us couldn’t have come at a better time”.

She added: “It means we are now in a position to build upon the recommendations coming out of the report.”