Dummy Taped To Baby's Face: Worker Suspended

A scandal-hit NHS trust has suspended a member of staff after a four-month-old baby had a dummy taped to his face at a hospital.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, already at the centre of a public inquiry into serious failings of care, apologised and said the boy had not been harmed and police had begun an investigation.

A spokesman for the Staffordshire force confirmed that officers were investigating a complaint about the treatment of a youngster by a worker at the hospital earlier this month.

Colin Ovington, director of nursing and midwifery at the trust, said: "A member of staff has been suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation and the trust's investigation under our disciplinary policy.

"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 report from the public inquiry into failings at the trust will be published on February 6.

Inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC will recommend wide-ranging reforms of the NHS, it is understood.

The £11m review of what went wrong at Stafford Hospital between January 2005 and March 2009 will suggest hospitals that cover up mistakes by doctors and poor treatment of patients should face fines and possible closure, it has been reported.

A separate, highly-critical, report by the Healthcare Commission in 2009 revealed a catalogue of failings at the trust and said "appalling standards" had put patients at risk.

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period from 2005 to 2008, the commission said. 

In February 2010, an independent inquiry into events at the trust found it had "routinely neglected patients".

Mr Ovington said: "We have a zero tolerance approach to poor patient care and we take immediate, appropriate action as soon as we know about any potential serious incidents which happen in our hospitals.

"We are proud that our staff now feel confident to report any incidents which happen.  We will continue to encourage staff to do this, and will continue to report incidents, even before they have been fully investigated, despite any negative attention this may create."