A UK-wide inquiry has been launched after more than 400 people are said to have died at a hospital due to poor care.
The deaths were recorded between 2005 and 2008. Clerical staff at Stafford Hospital often carried out checks on patients, who were left in soiled linen on filthy wards. The UK’s health watchdog said there had been significant failings in emergency healthcare, leadership and management. “What we found was shocking was an appalling state of affairs. It was a chaotic system of care; things were going wrong at every stage from the moment they were brought in through the door until they were in a ward somewhere,” said Sir Ian Kennedy from the Healthcare Commission. Investigators were inundated with complaints from patients’ relatives like Julie Bailey, who complained of “Third World” conditions: “There was no feeding of patients, there was no taking them to the toilet, you would just see patients struggling with the plastic film with their fingers, eating with their fingers, faeces-covered fingers,” she said. It is claimed pressure to make savings and meet government waiting time targets exacerbated the situation. Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: “Its about appalling management. The management had no excuse there to cut staff, they were apparently making a twelve million pound saving that they wanted to make.” The hospital Chairman and its Chief Executive stood down earlier this month. The hospital has also improved the way it assesses patients and increased the number of doctors and nurses.