Page last updated at 18:43 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

Calls for death hospital inquiry

A tribute wall to the people who died at Stafford Hospital
The commission criticised most stages of emergency care

More calls have been made for an independent inquiry into Stafford Hospital after it was criticised for "appalling failings."

The Healthcare Commission has said poor emergency care, which included receptionists carrying out initial checks, meant patients died needlessly.

The Patients Association and Cure the NHS have launched a petition calling for the independent inquiry.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson is reviewing the trust's emergency care.

The Patients Association and Cure the NHS want an inquiry led by a senior judicial figure to uncover how the poor care was able to continue at the trust for so many years.

'Terrible situation'

Julie Bailey, who founded the Cure NHS group after her mother's death after eight weeks at what is now Stafford Hospital, said she would not want anyone else to receive the treatment her mother and others suffered.

"A truly independent inquiry would be the first step in making sure that doesn't happen," she said.

Claire Rayner, president of the Patients Association, said what is needed in an inquiry into the whole function of each of the regulatory authorities and organisations that should have picked up what was happening.

"All we want is to find out how any why it happened and prevent this terrible situation happening again," she said.

After the commission published its report, stating 400 more people died at the hospital between 2005 and 2008 than would be expected, Mr Johnson apologised and launched an inquiry.

The Law Society has also said a public inquiry could be ordered.

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