Staff member suspended at scandal-hit NHS trust after baby is found with dummy taped to its face

 

Health Editor

Police have launched an investigation at the scandal-hit Stafford Hospital after a baby was found with a dummy taped to its face.

Four-month-old Mason Fellows was unharmed in the incident that took place earlier this month at the hospital, which is already at the centre of a public inquiry into serious failings of care.

The Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust apologised to the baby’s family yesterday and suspended a hospital worker while the police investigation takes place.

Mason and his twin brother Reece had been born 11 weeks prematurely on 3 September last year, at Walsall Manor Hospital. Their parents Sarah Fellows and her boyfriend Lee Denning brought the twins home in December, but Mason was rushed to Stafford Hospital after suffering breathing difficulties. It was then that the dummy is alleged to have been taped to Mason’s face.

The incident is a severe embarrassment to the trust coming 10 days before the launch of a £13m public inquiry into poor standards of care which went undetected for years. Up to 1,200 patients more than expected are estimated to have died between 2005 and 2008 in one of the NHS’s worst scandals. The inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, is expected to send shock waves through the NHS.

The scandal was exposed in a report by NHS regulators, the Healthcare Commission, in 2009, and the trust, with new managers, has since improved its standards of care and has a low death rate.

But Monitor, the regulator, ruled earlier this month that the trust was “clinically and financially unsustainable” after it was revealed it would need a subsidy of £73m over the next five years to keep it afloat. In a speech last November, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, highlighted Mid-Staffordshire as an exemplar of the “crisis in care”.

Colin Ovington, director of nursing at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said yesterday: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to poor patient care and we take immediate appropriate action.

“We cannot emphasise strongly enough that this incident is exceptional and apologise again to the family. We want other hospitals to learn from this incident so that we can be sure that it does not happen to any other baby.”

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “Officers from our Protecting Vulnerable People Department are at the early stages of investigating a complaint concerning the treatment of a baby boy by a member of staff at Stafford Hospital earlier this month.

“We are liaising closely with his family and the NHS trust concerning the matter.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'