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Criminal probe at Stafford Hospital
11:28pm Sunday 17th February 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Police and prosecutors are examining new evidence about the scandal at Stafford Hospital that could lead to criminal charges, it was reported.
Matthew Ellis, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, said detectives were examining "information not in the public domain" relating to deaths at the hospital. Mr Ellis said "every single piece of information" - much of which is yet to emerge - would be examined.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "There is more information that is not in the public domain that is going to be used to identify individuals who should be looked at. They will use every single piece of information - published and not published. The police are going to look at absolutely everything, every piece of information it is possible to get."
It is believed that some of the information being considered comes from inquests into deaths at the hospital. Mr Ellis said he wanted the people responsible for what happened to be held to account and has told the force to act quickly.
The Francis report highlighted the "appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of patients" at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009. Patients were left for hours sitting in their own faeces, food and drink was left out of reach, and hygiene was so poor that relatives had to clean toilets themselves.
Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the "truly dreadful" mistreatment and neglect at the trust. Speaking in the Commons after the 1,782-page report was released, Mr Cameron announced a raft of changes designed to ensure that any future failures in NHS organisations are detected and dealt with quickly.
The public inquiry was ordered after a separate report revealed that between 400 and 1,200 people more people died than expected at Stafford Hospital over a four-year period.
The inquiry, which sat for 139 days, heard from more than 250 witnesses including victims, their family members, patients' groups, charities, medics, politicians, unions and representatives of some of the royal colleges.