A MEMBER of the scandal-hit Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust in England has been suspended after a baby was found with a dummy taped to its face.
Staffordshire police confirmed that officers were investigating a complaint about a staff member at Stafford hospital and were liaising with the baby’s family and the NHS trust.
The four-month-old boy was unharmed in the incident which happened earlier this month.
The incident is a severe embarrassment to the Trust coming ten days before the launch of a public inquiry into poor standards of care which went undetected for years.
Up to 1,200 patients are estimated to have died over a three year period from 2005-2008 at the trust but went undetected in one of the worst scandals in NHS history.
The £13 million inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis, QC, is the biggest ever into health care and is expected to send shockwaves through the NHS.
The scandal was exposed in a report by NHS regulators, the Healthcare Commission in 2009 , and the trust, with new managers, has since improved its standards of care and has a low death rate.
However, Monitor, the Foundation trust regulator, ruled earlier this month that the trust was “clinically and financially unsustainable” after it was revealed it would need a subsidy of £73 million over the next five years to keep it afloat.
In a speech last November, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, highlighted Mid-Staffordshire as an exemplar of the “crisis in care”
He described what had happened on some wards as “a kind of normalisation of cruelty, where the unacceptable is legitimised and the callous becomes mundane.”
Colin Ovington, director of nursing at the Trust, said yesterday : “ We have a zero tolerance approach to poor patient care and we take immediate appropriate action. “
He added: “We cannot emphasise strongly enough that this incident is exceptional and apologise again to the family.”
- Jeremy Laurance, Independent.co.uk