Campaigners welcome hospital probe
The launch of a public inquiry into a "disaster" at an NHS trust has been welcomed by campaigners who have lobbied for three years for an open investigation into how appalling standards of care were allowed to persist.
Julie Bailey set up the campaign group Cure The NHS after her mother died at Stafford Hospital, which has been heavily criticised for putting targets and cost-cutting ahead of patient welfare. It has been claimed that hundreds of patients died at the hospital as a result of sub-standard treatment.
Mrs Bailey has campaigned for a public inquiry into the care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009 since her mother died exactly three years ago.
Speaking after the opening of the inquiry in Stafford, she said: "It has been very hard and difficult to get this inquiry but here we are today and I think this inquiry will leave no stone unturned.
"We're going to have an examination of all of the regulatory bodies, all of those people that we feel failed our relatives.
"I feel very proud to be honest, very proud of myself and the group, we need to pat ourselves on the back because we have come an awful long way."
The inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, aims to build on the work of an earlier independent investigation which disclosed a catalogue of failings at the trust, which also runs Cannock Chase Hospital. Mr Francis today referred to the situation at the hospital as "the Stafford disaster".
The first inquiry, which published its results in February, was held behind closed doors and was accused by relatives of those who died at Stafford Hospital of being secretive and unsatisfactory.
Martin Yeates, former chief executive of the trust, did not appear at the first inquiry due to ill health and may not give evidence to the new investigation, his solicitor said.
Andrew Hodge, representing Mr Yeates, said: "He hasn't yet had a request to give evidence this time but if and when he is he will have to consult his doctors and they will have to decide whether he is fit to give evidence or not."