Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 15:24 UK

Inquiry call into hospital care

Stafford Hospital
The hospital was heavily criticised by the Healthcare Commission

MPs have tabled a motion calling for a public inquiry to be held into "failings" at Stafford Hospital.

Up to 122 Conservative MPs signed the motion, tabled by Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, asking for the inquiry.

New Health Secretary Andy Burnham has said he is looking at the issue.

The hospital trust has been accused of "appalling" emergency care standards after 400 more deaths than expected were recorded between 2005 and 2008.

The government has previously said a public inquiry was not appropriate as the Healthcare Commission had already carried out a full investigation.

The Healthcare Commission report identified "appalling failings" which included receptionists carrying out initial patient checks.

'Legal protection'

The motion calls on Mr Burnham to initiate an independent inquiry, under the Inquiries Act 2005, into the failings of the Mid Staffordshire NHS.

Stone MP Bill Cash, who has signed the motion, said a public inquiry was needed as all those concerned would be giving evidence on oath.

"It would be a compulsion of papers and witnesses and would also exonerate those who should be exonerated and also give whistleblowers complete legal protection," he said.

Last month, the hospital outlined planned improvements in areas such as staffing levels, facilities and equipment as part of its Confidence in Care plan.

Millions of pounds has been pledged to improve patient care.

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