Police launch inquiry into hundreds of deaths at Stafford hospital
It has been reported in the media that the multi-agency review, following the Mid Staffordshire Trust scandal and publication of the Francis report, has identified up to 300 deaths that may have been caused or contributed to by neglect. As a result, the police have been called in to investigate.
It has been reported in the Guardian that Assistant Chief Constable Nick Baker, who is chairing the review, said: “Between 2005 and 2009, there were 4,253 deaths at Stafford hospital. However, we’ve identified between 200 and 300 cases where alleged neglect may have contributed to a patient’s death and they are being thoroughly reviewed.”
The multi-agency review includes representatives from Staffordshire police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the coroner’s office, the Health and Safety Executive, the Care Quality Commission, the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Officials are aiming to identify the most serious cases at the hospital from 2005 to 2009, the period examined by the public inquiry led by Robert Francis.
The public inquiry report highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people” at the trust. Inquiries into the scandal revealed that many patients were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases or given the wrong medication.
Officials from the multi-agency review are looking at reams of data, including reports into care by the hospital, coroner reports, inquest records, complaints and civil claims.
Baker said: “As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, this is a complex, large-scale review which needs to be detailed, thorough and sensitive. This work is being carried out by a team of … detectives, led by a senior investigating officer, and supported by investigators from the Health and Safety Executive.
“They are examining whether or not there’s any new information which has come to light which could lead to a previous criminal investigation being reopened or to an entirely new investigation. If we get to this stage, our next step will be to establish if there’s any realistic potential for criminal charges and prosecution.
“Due to the complex nature of our case-by-case review, at this stage we cannot be clear about timescales but we do anticipate that this will take many months.”
Devonshires are acting for a number of clients affected by the Stafford Hospital scandal.
If you would like further information or think that you may have been the victim of hospital negligence please call Suzanne Gallagher on 0207 880 4407.