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Calls for Stafford accountability
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 as a landmark report on "shocking" care at the hospital trust was due to be published.
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."
Miss Bailey was speaking as the public inquiry into the scandal, headed by Robert Francis QC, was expected to propose sweeping reforms of the regulatory bodies which, despite many warnings, failed to detect serious failings in patient care for more than four years or intervene soon enough to stop them.
The 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.
In addition to basic care errors there was a string of clinical blunders including botched operations, misdiagnoses and drugs not given or given late.
The inquiry will reportedly recommend that hospitals should face tough new scrutiny by teams of inspectors which include doctors and nurses. It is also expected that Mr Francis, a specialist in medical legal issues, will recommend a "duty of candour" that would see fines or threat of closure used against hospitals that fail to tell patients if treatment went wrong.
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."