The NHS official leading a review into shocking failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation hospital trust should report his findings in public so he can be quizzed by patients and their families, according to an MP.
David Kidney made the plea as he led a House of Commons debate, in which he also repeated calls for ministers to ensure the hospital’s chief executive was dismissed.
Ministers have asked Professor Sir George Alberti, national clinical director for urgent and emergency care, to lead an investigation into failings which may have led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths at the trust, which runs hospitals in Stafford and Cannock.
They have rejected demands for a full independent inquiry, which would have a legal power to summon witnesses and would usually be conducted in public.
So far, 145 MPs from all parties have signed a Commons motion demanding an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005.
Mr Kidney said a Healthcare Commission report, which found between 400 and 1,200 people may have died unnecessarily, was “a thorough report but questions continue to arise about what happened and why.”
He called on Professor Alberti to come to Stafford to answer questions from the public, once his own report was published later this month.
The MP also asked why Martin Yeates, the hospital’s chief executive, was still employed. He is currently suspended on full pay.
“I think the hospital’s good money should no longer be given to that chief executive.”
Mr Kidney pointed out that hospital staff must have known there were serious problems.
“All through this time there were no whistleblowers, there was no strike action by staff .?.?. what appeared to happen was that hardworking, loyal doctors and nurses tried their best to make systems work that we now know were broken.”
Cannock MP Tony Wright (Lab) said new mechanisms had to be put in place to allow NHS staff to report concerns.
He said: “What were these doctors doing? Why didn’t they go to their professional body? Why didn’t they go to the regulator? Every trust and certainly every hospital ought to have a whistleblowing procedure.”
Stone MP Bill Cash (Con) told ministers a full independent inquiry “is essential”. It would be “a local and national disgrace” if one was not held, he said.
But responding to the debate for the Government, health minister Ben Bradshaw said a public inquiry “would distract the new management and staff at the hospital from focusing on improving the quality of care at the hospital.”