Hospital inquiry to explore 'every nook and cranny'

A public inquiry into major failings at an NHS trust will "explore every relevant nook and cranny" in a bid to find out why appalling standards of care were allowed to continue, the lawyer leading the probe said today.

The inquiry into the care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009 aims to build on the work of an earlier independent investigation which disclosed a catalogue of failings at the trust, which runs hospitals in Stafford and Cannock Chase.



Tom Kark QC, leading counsel to the inquiry, said: "The purpose of this second and now public inquiry is to focus not on what went wrong but how it was allowed to go on for so long without appropriate remedial action.



"Why did no one act to correct the serious errors that were undoubtedly taking place?



"Why did the healthcare system as a whole tolerate what were clearly unacceptable standards of care?



"Why did those who should have been in the right position to take steps not do so?"



He added: "Despite the existence of national and local agencies concerned with the regulation of the NHS and the delivery of primary, secondary and acute care services, the appalling lack of care was allowed to continue with little effective intervention.



"In leading the inquiry team I have sought to ensure that we explore every relevant nook and cranny of the health service.



"We as a team will do our utmost not to leave a pebble unturned which might reveal material of interest and relevance within the terms of reference."



The latest inquiry was opened in Stafford by Robert Francis QC, who will start hearing expert evidence next week.



Mr Francis also chaired the previous independent inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital.



That inquiry, which published its findings last February, identified systemic failings at the hospital, where managers were preoccupied with cost-cutting and Government targets.



Launched after a Healthcare Commission report published last year, the previous inquiry found that appalling standards put patients at risk and between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period from 2005 to 2008.











The previous Labour government rejected calls for a full public inquiry into events at the hospital, instead ordering the independent inquiry.



Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said in June that the new inquiry would be held in public to combat "a culture of secrecy" and restore public confidence.



Mr Kark said the inquiry team had approached more than 170 individuals, organisations and agencies and written to 114 GP surgeries.



Mr Francis said: "We are all here because of the terrible standard of service inflicted on so many of the patients who went to Stafford Hospital and their families.



"Last year, in my first inquiry, I sat and listened to many stories of appalling care.



"As I did so, the questions that went constantly through my mind were, why did none of the many organisations charged with the supervision and regulation of our hospitals detect that something so serious was going on, and why was nothing done about it?



"That question was one which many patients and their families and, it is fair to say, healthcare professionals as well, wanted to be answered."



He added: "While we are not here to reinvestigate what went wrong in Stafford Hospital, I think it is important ... that we keep at the forefront of our minds the terrible effect of the system's failings on those it was meant to serve."



Mr Francis said the main purpose of the inquiry was to find out why no action was taken by NHS management before the intervention of the Healthcare Commission, and to identify what lessons could be learned.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

    Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

    MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

    Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...

    Recruitment Genius: Weekend Factory Operatives

    £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific