Saturday, 9 February 2013

Stafford Hospital scandal: Jeremy Hunt calls for police inquiry

The deaths of patients at Stafford Hospital should be investigated by the police, the Health Secretary has said.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Jeremy Hunt said it was "absolutely outrageous" that nobody had been "brought to book".

Staffordshire Police said it was currently "studying the report's full contents."

It said it had previously investigated two cases at the hospital but found no evidence to bring prosecutions.

"This was a public inquiry that was designed to help us understand why the system didn't pick up what went wrong but I think it is absolutely disgraceful with all those things happening, whether it is doctors, nurses or managers, nobody has been held to account," Mr Hunt told the newspaper.

'Duty of care'
He said that it was not for politicians to decide whether people should be prosecuted but that evidence should be reviewed.

The findings of the public inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital were published on Wednesday.

The 12-month inquiry, which cost £13m, came after a higher-than-expected number of deaths at Stafford hospital between 2005 and 2008.

The report by Robert Francis QC strongly criticised hospital managers and the Department of Health.

Helene Donnelly worked as a staff nurse in the casualty department at Stafford Hospital and raised concerns about patient care about 100 times in six years.

She said there had been a culture of neglect at the hospital and that she was in favour of the evidence being looked at.

"As a nurse who went through it and saw some terrible things, I think there does need to be some accountability certainly with some of the nurses I spoke out against," she said.

Staffordshire Police said two cases of misdiagnosis had been formally investigated following patient deaths but no evidence was found to suggest the hospital had been negligent in its care.

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