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Patients Groups In Call For Inquiry

Patients welfare campaigners petition against NHS Trust


A petition calling for a "truly independent" inquiry into the NHS trust at the centre of a scandal over deaths has been launched by campaigners for patients' welfare.

A damning report that exposed a catalogue of failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has prompted the Patients Association and Cure The NHS to call for an inquiry led by a senior judicial figure to uncover how the "serious failings in care" were able to continue at the trust for so many years.

They want to find out whether the public can be confident current supervision can prevent the situation from happening again, and have argued that there has been mismanagement of a "staggering degree" at all levels, including among those who regulate healthcare.

Shocking standards of patient care at Mid Staffordshire, which runs Stafford and Cannock Chase Hospitals, were detailed in a report from the Healthcare Commission last week.

It found that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period from 2005 to 2008.

Relatives have been promised by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that they are entitled to an independent review of case notes and were told that standards "fell far short" of what people could expect from the NHS.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Jonathan Peacock, from the Birmingham office of national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, has had personal dealings with the Trust, having represented a number of relatives following patient deaths at Stafford General Hospital.

He said: "This report may be one of the final acts of the Healthcare Commission, which will cease to exist as of 1st April 2009, when its responsibilities will come under the wider remit of the Care Quality Commission. The report has highlighted what many patients at this Trust have known for a long time. Mistakes are being made, people’s lives are being devastated and lessons are not being learned. We have seen a number of clients who have been treated very poorly, often with long-term or even fatal consequences.

"The vast majority are determined to bring the hospital to book over the treatment of their loved ones, to try and make sure it can’t and won’t happen again. For all of those victims, this news will be an unwelcome reminder of the problems they have experienced and a huge disappointment that the hospital has still not learnt from its past errors."

In recent years, Irwin Mitchell has taken legal action following a number of fatalities at Mid Staffs NHS Trust managed Stafford General Hospital.