Mid Staffordshire hospital report: Inquiry lists 'appalling' failings at hospital in 1,700-page report

Chris Parsons

A damning report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust today branded the crisis-hit hospital a 'disaster' which carried out a string of 'appalling' failings.

The £13m investigation into the Stafford Hospital scandal concluded today, with the inquiry chairman calling for a 'zero tolerance' approach to poor National Health Service standards of care amid demands for sweeping reforms.

Robert Francis QC made a total of 290 sweeping recommendations for healthcare regulators, providers and the Government in his 1,782 page report.

The findings attack local health authorities and the trust board but did not blame any one individual or organisation for the "disaster" at Stafford Hospital.

The damning report revealed that hundreds of patients died at the crisis-hit hospital because of an obsession with meeting targets and a 'box-ticking culture'.

David Cameron today apologised on behalf of the Government for the scandal, which was described as the 'biggest in the history of the NHS'.

The Prime Minister announced that the Health Secretary will be writing to the bodies responsible for standards for doctors and nurses, to ask why nobody had been struck off as a result of the failings uncovered in Staffordshire.

As the findings of the inquiry were revealed today, campaigners who exposed the Mid-Staffs health care scandal demanded people be held to account for its failings.

Julie Bailey, who set up the campaign group Cure the NHS after her mother Bella Bailey, 86, died at Stafford Hospital in 2007, said relatives of the victims wanted to see people held responsible for the scandal.

Miss Bailey insisted there must be 'change at the top' of the NHS in the wake of the report, which proposed sweeping changes to regulatory bodies.

The comprehensive report issued today concluded that:

  • 'Appalling' conditions suffered by patients were caused by 'serious failure' from trust board.

  • Mid Staffs trust failed to tackle an 'insidious negative culture'.

  • Poor leadership and staffing led to a 'completely inadequate' standard of nursing in wards

  • Managers had 'no culture' for listening to patients'; whose families were excluded from their care.

  • Hospitals which fail to comply with a 'fundamental standard' should be closed.

  • NHS has series of checks which should've prevented 'serious systematic failure of this sort'.

  • Hospital regulator Monitor should be stripped of powers to award foundation trust status.

Mr Francis said the NHS has a series of checks and balances which should have prevented "serious systematic failure of this sort".

The system failed in its primary duty of protecting patients, he added.

There were "numerous" warning signs which should have alerted authorities to problems at the trust.

There was a failure to communicate between the plethora of regulatory agencies and "too great a degree of tolerance of poor standards", he said.

Fundamental standards should be policed by a single regulator - the Care Quality Commission (CQC), he said.

He added that the regulator Monitor should be stripped of its powers to award trusts foundation trust status - a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS.

The regulator awarded the trust the status in 2008 - at the height of its troubles.

Mr Francis said "appalling" conditions suffered by patients at the trust, which runs the hospital, were primarily caused by "serious failure" on the part of the trust board.


The campaigner who kick-started exposure of the Mid-Staffordshire health care scandal has called for people to be held to account for its failings.

Julie Bailey, who set up the campaign group Cure the NHS after her mother Bella Bailey, 86, died at Stafford Hospital in 2007, said relatives of the victims wanted to see people held responsible for the scandal.

"We won't be going anywhere until there is a safer NHS, but things have got to change at the top.

"We are looking for accountability for this, we can't lose all these lives and nobody be held to account," she told ITV Daybreak. "We can't allow that."

A public inquiry was ordered after it was revealed that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected at Stafford Hospital from 2005 to 2009, amid "appalling" standards of care.

Patients were left for hours sitting in their own faeces, food and drink was left out of reach and hygiene was so poor that relatives had to clean toilets themselves.

The BBC said the Government is expected to announce the creation of a new post of chief inspector of hospitals in response to the inquiry.

Miss Bailey said: "When mum went in, we both believed the NHS was something to be proud of, we both believed that the hospital would be a safe place.

"We quickly learned after four days that mum was in fact in a very dangerous place. She needed protecting in what should have been a place of safety."

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar warned against recommendations for more external regulation of hospitals, including the possible introduction of a new post of chief inspector of hospitals.

He said: "We shouldn't be relying on external inspectors to create the right climate and the right attitude in hospitals.

"Staff give really, really great care when they feel really, really valued - not really, really inspected."