Sweeping reforms of hospital regulation expected in wake of health care scandal (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Sweeping reforms of hospital regulation expected in wake of health care scandal
11:25am Wednesday 6th February 2013 in News
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 today.
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 people 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.
Concerns have been raised that other organisations may suffer the same fate amid the NHS £20 billion efficiency drive.
Indeed, cases of poor care standards at the trust are still surfacing. Last week the trust confirmed that an employee at Stafford Hospital was suspended after taking photographs of patients.
And the week before it emerged that police were investigating after a baby was found with a dummy taped into its mouth.
Human rights lawyer Emma Jones said her firm Leigh Day is investigating claims of abuse at 10 other hospitals.
Ms Jones, who represented 120 victims of abuse at the trust, said: ''Every day abuse against patients takes place, and it is usually the most vulnerable who suffer, and without widespread reform it will continue.
''People who are admitted to hospital are vulnerable. They are often frightened and have not been told what is wrong with them, or what treatment they will receive.
''These issues need to be addressed and reforms put into place as a matter of urgency to ensure such a situation does not arise again.''