"Unimaginable suffering" of Stafford Hospital patients – shocking report revealed

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The findings of an independent inquiry into the worst ever NHS hospital scandal have been published, with shocking results revealed.

It's thought that up to 1,200 patients died needlessly as a result of medical negligence at The Stafford Hospital – and yet no-one will be brought to book for the appalling treatment patients suffered.

Headed by Robert Francis QC, the inquiry found that sick and terminally ill patients were 'routinely neglected', subjected to 'inhumane treatment', 'bullying', 'abuse' and 'rudeness'.

Some patients were left unwashed for up to a month and wards were left filthy with blood and used medical equipment. Four members of a single family died at the Stafford Hospital within an 18 month period due to medical negligence. And patients with food and drinks left out of reach were reduced to drinking from flower vases next to their beds.

Gordon Brown has described the scandal as a "completely unacceptable management failure" and we understand that the treatment of another 300 patients is now under investigation.

Despite its Foundation Trust status the hospital had a huge catalogue of poor standards including A&E patients being assessed by unqualified receptionists and heart monitors turned off because nurses had not been trained to use them.

As of yesterday (February 24 2010) the General Medical Council announced that it was investigating the conduct of several doctors at The Stafford Hospital and the Nursing and Midwifery Council is also investigating at least one nurse.

The campaign group Cure the NHS has said that the handling of the scandal has been "disgraceful and unacceptable".

Its founder Julie Bailey, whose mother suffered an agonising death at The Stafford Hospital which prompted her to form the group, said: "It is time that the public was told the truth about the very large number of excess deaths of patients in NHS care and the very large number of avoidable but deadly errors that occur in NHS hospitals every day."

She has challenged Health Secretary Andy Burnham to a televised debate on the NHS and has condemned the Francis report and its 18 recommendations as "absolutely outrageous".

The Stafford Hospital now has a new Chief Executive and the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust which runs the hospital is now said to be more "open and accountable".

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