Stafford hospital was so busy slashing staff and chasing targets that it was too busy to look after those who died.
When the NHS watchdog finally woke up to families concerns, it found filthy wards where heart monitors were switched off, and where nurses left patients without drugs, without food, without water.
The staff nicknamed Stafford Beirut – but no-one blew the whistle. Today, came a promise to find out why not.
Prime Minister David Cameron pledged: “We will be fulfilling another important pledge and that is a public inquiry into the appalling events at the Mid-Staffordshire hospital.
Julie Bailey says she watched her mother Bella die for lack of care at Stafford hospital. She says a public inquiry which forces NHS managers to break their silence is key to making sure problems are spotted before hundreds die.
She told Channel 4 News: “This is the public inquiry that Cure the NHS wanted in the first place.
“They already knew what went wrong on the wards at Stafford. But they want this inquiry to rip apart the secrecy they say runs right through the NHS.”
That secrecy led a senior manager at Stafford to order the rewriting of an internal report acknowledging negligence in John Moore Robinson’s death.
The NHS regulator said today it still has concerns about Stafford hospital – and it is monitoring all hospitals much more closely, watching out for NHS trusts which are pursuing targets or financial independence, at the expense of patient’s lives.