Inquiry reports on Stafford Hospital deaths scandal

staffordOne year ago today and the public enquiry report was published condemning the standard of care patients had experienced at Stafford hospital over many years.  It pointed to neglect, negligence, lack of compassion and management failure all the way up the chain.


What Went Wrong?

The doctors struggling everywhere
and nurses with compassion gone.
Management who did not care
in a hospital gone wrong.

Where does the diagnostic blame belong?
Were they worried, in despair?
Did they feel so put upon,
the doctors struggling everywhere?

Patients lay and festered there
in beds unchanged for oh so long,
thirsting in Mid Staff’s nightmare
and nurses with compassion gone.

They needed guidance to be strong,
to summon up a strength that’s rare,
to challenge what they felt was wrong –
management who did not care.

The systems were beyond repair;
process not people, the same old song.
So much to do, the facts laid bare,
in a hospital gone wrong.

The Health Authority head moved on
to lead the NHS, and we despair.
Is that where Nicholson belongs,
management who did not care?


6th February 2013 – headline from the BBC

Notes:  “Inquiry reports on Stafford Hospital deaths scandal”.  Upto an estimated 1200 patients died as a result of poor care between January 2005 and March 2009 at Stafford hospital.  The often horrifying evidence that has emerged means “Mid Staffs” has become a byword for NHS care at its most negligent.  A full public inquiryreport, produced by Robert Francis QC, was scathing and cited a litany of failings in the care of patients. “For many patients the most basic elements of care were neglected,” he said. Some patients needing pain relief either got it late or not at all. Others were left unwashed for up to a month. “Food and drinks were left out of the reach of patients and many were forced to rely on family members for help with feeding.” Too many patients were sent home before they were ready to go, and ended up back in hospital soon afterwards. “The standards of hygiene were at times awful, with families forced to remove used bandages and dressings from public areas and clean toilets themselves for fear of catching infections.” Patients’ calls for help to use the toilet were ignored, with the result that they were left in soiled sheeting or sitting on commodes for hours “often feeling ashamed and afraid”.  Misdiagnosis was common.  The appalling care and neglect uncovered at Stafford Hospital did not develop overnight. Warning signs had been in evidence for years but were ignored or overlooked by every organisation responsible for regulating the NHS, up to and including the Department of Health.  NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has also come in for criticism as previous head of the health authority.  In his evidence to the inquiry he said he did not think Stafford represented a systematic failure as it had been the only case uncovered on such a scale.