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MPs to hear hospital of horrors statement.

Summary: Health Secretary Alan Johnson has apologised for the "pain and anguish" caused by the failings at a hospital trust.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has apologised on behalf of the Government and the NHS for the "pain and anguish" caused by the failings at a hospital Trust.

Patients were allegedly left screaming in pain and drinking from flower vases on a nightmare ward at Stafford Hospital.

Mr Johnson told MPs he had asked the National Clinical Director for Emergency Care Professor Sir George Alberti to lead an independent review of the hospital's procedures for emergency admissions and treatment.

He also said the National Clinical Director for Primary Care Dr David Colin-Thome will review the circumstances surrounding the Trust prior to the Healthcare Commission's investigation.

Mr Johnson said there had been "serious failings for some time" at Stafford Hospital which had either not been spotted or had been ignored.

He promised the families and friends of patients who died at Stafford Hospital that case note reviews would be carried out if requested, "to determine whether or not the care they or their loved ones received was appropriate".

"I apologise on behalf of the Government and the NHS, for the pain and anguish caused to so many patients and their families by the appalling standards of care at Stafford Hospital and for the failures highlighted in this report," he said.

"Patients will want to be absolutely certain that the quality of care at Stafford hospital has been radically transformed, and in particular, that the urgent and emergency care is administered safely."

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said it was important to find out why failures had taken place to "ensure that it does not happen again".

"The NHS abjectly failed to listen to what patients and relatives were telling them about what was happening at the hospital," he said.

"We don't know how many patients died needlessly. We do know that the board of this Trust didn't listen to complaints by patients and their families, didn't listen even to the doctors and nurses on the front line in the hospital, didn't devote their efforts to the quality of care for patients and were obsessed with financial results, organisational change and targets - not with the care and safety of patients."

The moves come after a report found the "shocking" state of affairs at the trust meant patients admitted as emergencies suffered due to serious lapses in care.

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period.

The Healthcare Commission investigation found inadequately trained staff who were too few in number, junior doctors left alone in charge at night and patients left without food, drink or medication as their operations were repeatedly cancelled.

Patients were left in pain or forced to sit in soiled bedding for hours at a time and were not given their regular medication.

Receptionists with no medical training were expected to assess patients coming in to A&E, some of whom needed urgent care.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Mar 19, 2009
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