Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 13:37 UK

Lansley statement on Stafford hospital public inquiry

A full public inquiry will be held into failings at Stafford hospital that are believed to have cost hundreds of lives, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has confirmed.

Mr Lansley said that while three reports had laid bare what happened at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, "we are still little closer to understanding how it was allowed to happen by the wider system".

In a statement to MPs on 9 June 2010, he said there had been a "national failure" of the regulatory and supervisory systems in the NHS, as well as failings at the Trust.

The inquiry, to be chaired by Robert Francis QC, who produced an independent report on the case, would aim to produce its conclusions by March 2011, Mr Lansley said.

When those were presented to the Commons, Mr Lansley said: "I am confident that we will for the first time in this tragic saga be able to discuss conclusions rather than just questions."

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham - who previously rejected calls for a full public inquiry into events at Stafford Hospital, instead ordering an independent inquiry - said the new inquiry would have Labour's "full cooperation".

The first Francis inquiry, which published its findings in February, found that the hospital "routinely neglected" patients and displayed "systemic failings" in its approach to care.

Mr Lansley said he did not want Mr Francis to go over the ground already covered, but focus instead on how the culture in the NHS allowed this to happen.

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