Feb 7 2013
Five hospital trusts are to be investigated over high death rates, it has emerged, following a scathing report which laid bare the "disaster" of Stafford Hospital.
NHS Commissioning Board medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is to launch an immediate investigation into Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust after the trusts had higher-than-average death rates two years running.
The news follows the publication of the Francis Report, which highlighted the "appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of patients" at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009.
Patients were left for hours sitting in their own faeces, food and drink was left out of reach, and hygiene was so poor that relatives had to clean toilets themselves.
Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the "truly dreadful" mistreatment and neglect at the trust. Speaking in the Commons after the 1,782-page report was released, Mr Cameron announced a raft of changes designed to ensure that any future failures in NHS organisations are detected and dealt with quickly.
Among other recommendations, the Prime Minister ordered the creation of the post of Chief Inspector of Hospitals, who will have responsibility for a regime of inspections.
"I would like to apologise to the families of all those who suffered from the way the system allowed this horrific abuse to go unchecked and unchallenged for so long," Mr Cameron said. "On behalf of the Government, and indeed our country, I am truly sorry."
Mr Cameron also said that the Health Secretary will be writing to the bodies responsible for standards of doctors and nurses to ask why nobody had been struck off. Robert Francis QC, chairman of the public inquiry, refused to point the finger at any organisation or individual, instead blaming an "insidious negative culture".
The families of those who suffered in the care failings called for NHS chief Sir David Nicholson and Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter to resign over the scandal. Mr Cameron's official spokesman said the PM had full confidence in Sir David.
Julie Bailey, who set up campaign group Cure The NHS after her 86-year-old mother Bella died at the scandal-hit hospital in 2007, said: "We want resignations, we are going nowhere. We have lost hundreds of lives within the NHS, we want accountability."