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The Stafford Hospital scandal relates to unusually high mortality rates amongst patients at the Stafford HospitalStafford, England.

Background

The scandal came to light because of an investigation by the Healthcare Commission into the operation of Stafford Hospital in Stafford, England. The commission was first alerted by the “apparently high mortality rates in patients admitted as emergencies”.[1] When the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for running the hospital, failed to provide what the commission considered an adequate explanation, a full-scale investigation was carried out between March and October 2008.[1] Released in March 2009, the commission’s report severely criticized theFoundation Trust‘s management and detailed the appalling conditions and inadequacies at the hospital. Many press reports suggested that because of the substandard care between 400 and 1200 more patients died between 2005 and 2008 than would be expected for the type of hospital,[2][3] though in fact such ‘excess’ death statistics did not appear in the final Healthcare Commission report.[4]

As a result, the trust’s chief executive, Martin Yeates, was suspended (with full pay), while its chairman, Toni Brisby, resigned.[3] Both Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson apologized to those who suffered at the hospital.[3][5] Also in response to the scandal, the mortality rates of all National Health Service hospitals have been made accessible on a website.[6]

In March 2009 it was revealed that executives who had run the NHS trust at the time actually received promotions within the health service. Most notably Cynthia Bower, who was from 2006 chief executive of the trust’s parent body, NHS West Midlands, was recruited to run the Care Quality Commission quango.[7]

On 21 July 2009, the Secretary of State for HealthAndrew Burnham, announced a further independent inquiry into care provided by Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. The generally critical inquiry report was published on 24 February 2010. The report made 18 local and national recommendations, including that the regulator, Monitor, de-authorise the Foundation Trust.[8]

Compensation payments averaging £11,000 were paid to some of the families involved.[9]

In February 2010, Burnham agreed to a further independent inquiry of the commissioning, supervisory and regulatory bodies for Foundation Trusts.[8]

Public inquiry

In June 2010, the new government announced that a full public inquiry would be held.[10] The inquiry began on 8 November 2010 chaired by Robert Francis QC, who had chaired the fourth inquiry which he had criticised for its narrow remit. The inquiry will consider the more than a million pages of previous evidence as well as hearing from witnesses.[11] The final report is expected to be released some time in October 2012. [12]

This entry was posted on Monday, August 6th, 2012 at 11:27 am and is filed under Longwoods Online.