Care at Stafford Considered ‘Inhuman’; Inquiry Proceeds

A public inquiry has heard that care at Stafford Hospital was so bad that patients were denied basic human rights. According to Cure the NHS, a campaign group that was set up by the relatives of some of those who had died at the hospital due to inadequate treatment, the standard of care at Stafford constituted degrading and inhuman treatment under the European Convention on Human Rights.

There are hundreds of hearings scheduled for the number of deaths at the hospital between 2005 and 2008, which was higher than normal. This public inquiry follows an earlier, private inquiry, which took place in 2009. This report listed issues such as shortage of nurses and senior doctors, pressure on staff to meet financial and other targets, and inappropriate procedures such as receptionists assessing patients at A&E.

Jeremy Hyam, counsel for Cure the NHS, says that the failures went beyond patient care, extending to supervisory bodies failed to prioritise patient safety over meeting targets.

"The shocking experience of Mid Staffordshire suggests that despite the array of supervisory, regulatory and commissioning bodies within the health system, their individual and combined work completely failed […] to maintain basic standards of care, dignity and respect for human rights”, Mr. Hyam said.

Nick Mullany, counsel for the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, issued an apology on behalf of the Trust, promising that the body would be “cooperative, open and frank” throughout the present inquiry, which is due to continue until the middle of next year.