Reports blame 'failings at every level' for 1,200 deaths at Stafford Hospital, as five more hospitals under investigation for neglect

23 June 2013

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Reports blame 'failings at every level' for 1,200 deaths at Stafford Hospital, as five more hospitals under investigation for neglect

After a damning report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust which raised fears that basic clinical failings could be putting patients at risk across the NHS, five hospital trusts with persistently high death rates are facing investigation.

The inspections were announced by David Cameron in the wake of the excoriating report into the catastrophic failings at the trust which led the unnecessary deaths of up to 1,200 patients. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, described the Mid Staffs scandal yesterday as “the most shocking betrayal of NHS founding values in its history”.

The hospitals in Colchester, Tameside, Blackpool, Basildon and Lancashire will all face detailed inspections led by the Medical Director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh, over the next three months.  The announcement was made as Mr Cameron responded to the publication of the Francis report which chronicled the appalling neglect of patients at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009.

In his report Robert Francis, QC, described how patients were left “unwashed, unfed and without water” while staff treated them and their relatives with “callous indifference”. “There was a lack of care, compassion, humanity and leadership,” he said. “The most basic standards of care were not observed and fundamental rights to dignity were not respected.”

As a result Mr Cameron pledged an overhaul of the professional bodies which hold doctors and nurses to account, new measures to combat poor care, including controversial plans to link the pay of nurses to performance.  The Prime Minister said the report’s evidence of systemic failure means “we cannot say with confidence that failings of care are limited to one hospital”.

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