The Francis report has been released to a very limited number of people, including David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt, according to the Prime Minister’s official spokesman.
Members of the Cabinet discussed the report yesterday but did not review its contents because most had not seen it.
The spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: “The point the Secretary of State for Health and the Prime Minister were making in Cabinet was around the seriousness of the issue.
“The first Francis report into care standards at the Trust highlighted what can only be described as completely unacceptable failure in care standards – failure which caused appalling distress to patients and their families.
“Given the scale of the failings that the original report uncovered, it is the Government’s very clear view that it is important to get to the bottom of why these failings were undetected for so long.
“That’s why it was right to set up the public inquiry focusing on the commissioning and regulatory regime, and why these failings were undetected.”
The spokesman said that Mr Cameron had met representatives of victim’s families in opposition and met them again at Downing Street on Monday.
“He would want his response to the inquiry to be fully informed by those who suffered so much,” he said.
Mr Cameron’s approach to the NHS was driven by the priority of creating a “culture of care” through initiatives like the Friends and Family Test patient feedback scheme and the new Nursing Quality Forum, said the spokesman.
The report will be laid before Parliament this morning and Mr Cameron will deliver a statement to the House after Prime Minister’s Questions.
It is understood that inquiry chair Robert Francis QC will recommend wide-ranging reforms of the NHS.