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All the main parties in Britain regard the National Health Service (NHS) as a fundamental part of the modern British welfare state, but a number of recent scandals suggest that there are weaknesses and flaws in the system.

The Mid-Staffordshire NHS trust, which was the subject of a recent official inquiry into the standards of care at the hospital, has been dissolved. The inquiry revealed serious flaws in the culture of the NHS. There was a lack of openness to criticism and general defensiveness. There was a lack of consideration for patients, an acceptance of poor standards and a failure to put the interests of the patient first. The administrators concentrated on achieving targets rather than improving care.

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