STAFFORD Hospital bosses have apologised 'unreservedly' for failing in their primary responsibility to keep all patients safe and to care for patients with the compassion and dignity they deserved.
In response to the publication of the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust scandal trust chief executive Lyn Hill-Tout said she welcomed its publication and thanked Mr Francis and his team for the time they devoted to listening to the evidence and their dedication in producing the report.
"We would also like to thank the witnesses, particularly the patients and families who re-lived experiences which should not have happened," she said.
"We apologise unreservedly that the board at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and individuals working for the trust failed in their primary responsibility to keep all patients safe and to care for patients with the compassion and dignity they deserved. She said the report was rightly damning of the trust at the time.
"We have learnt the hard way," she said. "We have learnt from that experience and, through listening to the Inquiry witnesses, our patients, staff and local community, we try every day to continue to improve the care we provide to our patients."
She said the board would ensure they learned from the 290 recommendations made by the report and the actions they have already taken.
“There are many valuable lessons to be learnt and our expectation is that the NHS, at every level and every individual, takes these lessons to heart and acts upon them," she said. "Since the start of the Healthcare Commission Investigation in March 2008, our patients, local community and staff have been through very a difficult time. "For some the difficulties continue. "However, through the hard work of our staff, Stafford Hospital is now a very different place."
Mrs Hill-Tout said there was now independent evidence the quality of care given to patients at Stafford Hospital had improved.
"These improvements have resulted in reduced mortality rates, low hospital acquired infection rates and fewer serious complaints," she said.
"However, we know that we still do not get everything right all of the time and are not complacent and as Robert Francis has outlined many important changes are needed in the NHS and particularly personal and collective responsibility for ensuring safe, good care to our patients."
She thanked the local community for its continued constructive challenge and support in helping to make things better. "We have been heartened by those organisations and individuals who have worked with us to help put things right."