Robert Francis QC headed up the inquiry into Mid Staffs last year / Getty


Standards across the NHS have become so poor that if the health service were an airline “planes would fall out of the sky all the time”, the chairman of the inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS scandal has warned.

Robert Francis QC said the public had been given a falsely positive impression about the quality of care being provided in many of the country’s hospitals.

Mr Francis told The Telegraph: “If we ran our airlines industry on the same basis, planes would be falling out of the sky all the time. We’ve got to change the attitude that because it’s provided by the state, it’s all right for a number of people to be treated badly; well it’s not. Airlines would go out of business very quickly if they worked that way.”

Giving his first interview since the Government’s response to his landmark inquiry into Mid Staffs last year, Mr Francis, now president of the Patients Association charity, said: “Because we’ve not had access to genuine information about how well things are done, the public have had a perception that things are better than they probably are.”