Inquiries: learning from failure in the NHS?

This paper asks questions about the purposes of inquiries and evaluates the way in which they are carried out.


Published: 01/01/2003

ISBN: 1902089766

Download the report [PDF 156.2KB]

This report explores the use of inquiries in the NHS. It presents an overview of their history and development; describes their purposes and how and why they are set up; discusses the models, methods and processes that inquiries use; and reviews how their findings and recommendations are used.

The report concludes by outlining some lessons for policymakers and other stakeholders in the NHS, which might inform the design and conduct of future inquiries and further research in the area.

From the Committee of Enquiry into the allegations of abuse and ill treatment of long-stay patients at Ely Hospital in Cardiff in 1967 to the Public Enquiry into the treatment of patients by Dr Harold Shipman in 2001 this report is a fascinating study of inquiries, their type, nature, cost and effect in shaping health policy change. It is essential reading for those interested in the developing area of regulation of health care.

Suggested citation

Walshe K (2003) Inquiries: learning from failure in the NHS? Research report. Nuffield Trust.