Two of the 12 nurses suspended from Mid Staffordshire Hospitals Foundation Trust following a damning report into the treatment of patients have returned to work, it has emerged.
The 12 nurses were suspended earlier this year following the Healthcare Commission report and independent investigation into Stafford Hospital.
Six of these remain suspended, four have left the trust and two have returned to work, a trust spokeswoman confirmed.
Suspensions relate to nurses failing to improve standards of patient care, according to a report in the Nursing Standard into the suspensions.
A spokeswoman would not disclose the exact reasons for the suspensions but said the four nurses who have left the trust could still face disciplinary action.
“They will not be immune from disciplinary action, from the trust or the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), should the situation arise,” she said.
A new inquiry into patient care at Stafford Hospital is preparing to get under way to look into the role of regulatory organisations.
It will examine the level of monitoring of the trust from 2005 to last year and how appalling failings slipped through the net.
A Healthcare Commission report in March last year discovered failures at every level caused the unnecessary death of up to 1,200 mainly elderly patients in a three year period.
Subsequent inquiries have ruled that patient lives were put at risk because the Trust board prioritised gaining Foundation status and financial stability over patient safety and staff numbers.
Despite various reports and investigations, no manager or member of staff has yet faced any disciplinary proceedings, to the anger of campaigners at Cure the NHS.
Ken Lownds, a member of the action group Cure the NHS, addressed Conservative ministers this week over the issues protesters had faced in Staffordshire.
Mr Lownds said: “Sadly, it became an example of what can happen when those responsible for the safety and care of patients lose sight of what they are there for.
“But it is also a beacon of hope because we now have a Secretary of State who, unlike the last, has the courage to shine a very public light into Stafford Hospital.
“We need to understand how we can possibly have got to a situation, in a civilised society, in which demeaning vulnerable patients was considered something to be tolerated in the interests of efficiency targets – leaving them without water, crying for painkillers, and telling them to relieve themselves in their own beds.”
He added: “Only when NHS leaders see challenge from their frontline staff and from patients and their families as vital to improving care, and only when they are prepared to be fully open when things go wrong, will we have an NHS that is what it should be.”