NHS's darkest day: Five more hospitals under investigation for neglect as report blames 'failings at every level' for 1,200 deaths at Stafford Hospital

Inspections to be carried out at hospitals with high death rates after report reveals catastrophic failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust

Five hospital trusts with persistently high death rates are facing investigation tonight after a damning report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust raised fears that basic clinical failings could be putting patients at risk across the NHS.

The inspections were announced by David Cameron in the wake of the excoriating report into the catastrophic failings at the trust which led the unnecessary deaths of up to 1,200 patients.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, described the Mid Staffs scandal yesterday as “the most shocking betrayal of NHS founding values in its history”.

Ministers are concerned that the five trusts, all of which have higher-than-expected death rates, could have similar underlying problems.

The hospitals in Colchester, Tameside, Blackpool, Basildon and Lancashire will all face detailed inspections led by the Medical Director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh, over the next three months. Department of Health sources suggested that other hospitals could also face inspections as part of a new “zero-tolerance” approach to poor care.

The announcement was made as Mr Cameron responded to the publication of the Francis report which chronicled the appalling neglect of patients at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009.

In his report Robert Francis, QC, described how patients were left “unwashed, unfed and without water” while staff treated them and their relatives with “callous indifference”.

“There was a lack of care, compassion, humanity and leadership,” he said. “The most basic standards of care were not observed and fundamental rights to dignity were not respected.”

He detailed the systematic failings of the NHS to identify and deal with the problems “at every level” which he said had “betrayed” the trust of the public.

As a result Mr Cameron pledged new measures to combat poor care, including controversial plans to link the pay of nurses to performance and an overhaul of the professional bodies which hold doctors and nurses to account.

The Prime Minister said the report’s evidence of systemic failure means “we cannot say with confidence that failings of care are limited to one hospital”.

He also promised seriously to consider proposals in the Francis report for all medical staff to be made personally liable for care they provide to their patients, and face prosecution if they break a new statutory duty of “candour”.

But he disappointed groups representing the families of patients who died in Stafford Hospital by standing by the head of the NHS Sir David Nicholson – who was a senior health service manager for the area at the time. Last night they called on him to resign.

The inquiry was set up to assess the wider lessons to be learnt by the NHS from the Staffordshire scandal. The report makes a total of 290 sweeping recommendations for healthcare regulators, providers and the Government. These include:

* A new register for healthcare support workers which would be able to “strike off” poorly performing staff.

* The creation of a new set of “fundamental standards” for care in the NHS which can easily be understood by staff, patients and the public. Any hospital that does not consistently maintain these standards should be shut down by regulators. Non-compliance with the standards leading to the “death or serious harm of a patient” should be prosecuted as a criminal offence.

* There should be a criminal offence for any registered doctor, nurse or health professional to mislead regulators. They would also have an obligation of “candour” to patients or families and be trained in compassion.

The Government is due formally to respond to the Francis report next month but Mr Cameron made clear that he expected the Government would endorse most of its findings.

But patient groups were angry that there have so far been no prosecutions or high-level resignations as a result of the scandal.

James Duff, whose wife Doreen died after receiving sub-standard care at Stafford Hospital, called on Sir David Nicholson to resign.

“Not one person has lost their job over this – instead they have been promoted and some people have been moved sideways,” he said. Sir David confirmed that he would not be standing down but said he was apologising again “to the people of Stafford for what happened”.

Other NHS organisations also pledged to improve in the wake of the scandal. The chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, David Behan, said it would look to implement plans for a new Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

 Lyn Hill-Tout, of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stafford Hospital, said they “still get things wrong” but added that “the culture and quality of care had improved since 2008”.

Scandals in waiting: The five trusts

* Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital): “We take the mortality indicator extremely seriously” – Sean MacDonnell, medical director. 

* Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Tameside Hospital, near Manchester): “We look at all the factors throughout our community which influence this data” – Tariq Mahmood, medical director.

* Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Blackpool Victoria Hospital plus two community hospitals): “We are committed to improving the outcomes for patients” – Mark O’Donnell, medical director.

* Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  (Basildon Hospital and Orsett Hospital, Essex): “The trust is working hard to improve our performance” – a spokesperson.

* East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (Royal Blackburn Hospital, Burnley General Hospital): “Clinicians review every patient death to see if anything could have been done differently” – Rineke Schram, medical director.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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

    Ashdown Group: Data Warehouse & Business Intelligence Co-ordinator

    £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Required skills include SQL querying, SSRS, u...

    Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

    Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

    Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

    Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

    £25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?