A report into the failings of the Mid Staffordshire National Health Service Foundation Trust between January 2005 and March 2009 is set to reveal hundreds of patients died needlessly because of substandard care at its two hospitals.
Here is a timeline of how events unfolded at the disgraced Foundation Trust.
Grief-stricken Julie Bailey creates the Cure the NHS campaign group following the death of her mother Bella, who died at Staffordshire General Hospital.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which runs Stafford Hospital and Cannock Chase Hospital, is awarded foundation trust status - a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS.
Health watchdog the Healthcare Commission launches an investigation into high death rates at the trust.
Trust chief executive Martin Yeates and chairman Toni Brisby resign days before a Healthcare Commission report reveals that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than expected at the trust between April 2005 and March 2008.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologises to families caught up in the scandal.
The Patients Association and Cure the NHS launch a petition calling for a public inquiry into what went wrong at the hospital.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) takes over responsibility from the Healthcare Commission as health regulator for England.
Andy Burnham replaces Alan Johnson as health secretary in a cabinet reshuffle. He later tells BBC Radio Stoke he will look at the issue of a public inquiry into failings at the trust - but cannot promise one.
The CQC publishes its first progress report into Stafford Hospital. The report says the trust has made an "acceptable start" towards making the improvements recommended by the Healthcare Commission.
Mr Burnham announces a second independent inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, into what went wrong at the trust.
The second independent inquiry into failures of care at the hospital publishes terms of reference, but Cure the NHS claims it will not go far enough.
The Conservatives say they will order a full public inquiry if they win the next election.
The inquiry formally opens, but the hearings are held in private. In its opening statement Mid Staffs apologises for "harm and distress" caused to patients, their families and loved ones at Stafford Hospital.
Protesters from Cure the NHS gather outside the final day of the independent inquiry to repeat calls for a public inquiry.
Bereaved families from Cure the NHS attack the "secretive" inquiry and protest outside the Department of Health calling for the resignation of Mr Burnham.
Later in the month the report from the independent inquiry is published. It concludes that patients were "routinely neglected" at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
The trust was preoccupied with cost-cutting and targets, and lost sight of its responsibility to provide safe care, the report says.
It emerges that the independent inquiry cost more than £1.7 million to conduct.
Prime Minister David Cameron announces a public inquiry will be held into the failings at Stafford Hospital.
Chairman of the public inquiry, Mr Francis, pledges to discover why "appalling" standards of patient care were not discovered sooner. He says the inquiry will also attempt to establish the role of supervisory and regulatory bodies in events at Stafford Hospital.
The CQC says Mid Staffs is still falling short on 11 key standards set out by law to maintain quality and safety in hospitals.
The inquiry hearings begin on November 8, but proceedings are delayed when a bereaved relative stages a protest.
In its opening statement to the inquiry, Cure the NHS claims the care offered by the hospital was so poor it infringed patients' human rights.
Ms Bailey tells the inquiry about the treatment of her mother, and adds that she still has "huge concerns" about the treatment of vulnerable patients.
The CQC issues a warning to the trust after it finds low staffing levels could compromise patient safety.
The trust announces that Stafford Hospital's accident and emergency department will close at night for three months due to staff shortages.
The closure coincides with the end of the 139-day public inquiry which heard from 164 witnesses, with an additional 87 witness statements and 39 "provisional statements".
Foundation trust regulator Monitor says experts are to be called in at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust to put it back on a viable financial footing.
Mr Francis announces that the report from the inquiry, which was due to be delivered in October, will be delayed.
Lawyers reveal the trust has paid out more than £1 million in compensation for "inhumane and degrading" treatment of patients.
Reports suggest Mr Francis will recommend wide-ranging reforms of the NHS in his report. The reports claim the inquiry will set out recommendations including a "duty of candour" that would see fines or the threat of closure used against hospitals that fail to tell patients their treatment went wrong; greater regulation of management; a reform of training for nurses and healthcare assistants; and stronger patient representative bodies.
Health regulator Monitor says an independent investigation concluded that the trust is "clinically and financially unsustainable" and will not be able to provide safe care on a sustainable basis in the future.
Later in the month police launch a criminal inquiry after a four-month-old baby boy was found with a dummy taped to his face at Stafford Hospital.
The trust confirms that a worker at Stafford Hospital was suspended after taking photographs of patients.
NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar predicts the release of the report will be "one of the darkest days" in the history of the NHS.
The bill for the public inquiry reaches £13 million.
On February 5, the final report is handed to Mr Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
A day later, the report is released.