Managers at scandal-hit hospital say it's now 'one of the best'

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Photo: PA

Senior managers at Stafford Hospital accept that for a number of years, there were big problems on some of the wards.

They agree that led to some terrible standards of care.

The shocking goings-on at Stafford Hospital have tarnished its image - and will continue to have reverberations for many years to come.

Members of Cure the NHS demonstrated outside Stafford Hospital Credit: PA

But they say Stafford is now among the best hospitals in the country, thanks to a whole series of major improvements.

They say it does not deserve to have a bad reputation any more.

Lyn Hill-Tout, Hospital Chief Executive since 2011, said:

"The hospital has changed dramatically since the problems we experienced. We have put more nurses on the wards, more doctors, better training, better supervision and certainly much more arrangements around the governance for how we deal with things like mistakes and serious incidents."

Bill Peacock, 77, and his wife Maggie have both been emergency patients at Stafford Hospital and they say they cannot praise it enough.

Mr Peacock says he owes his life to the skill and care of the medical staff.

Bill Peacock and his wife Maggie Credit: ITV News Central

"I had a very serious infection. I was very close to dying and they dragged me back from the brink and I am extremely grateful to all the carers, both in the intensive care unit and the critical care unit at Stafford Hospital. The treatment I have had since then has also been first class."

"I was very close to dying and they dragged me back from the brink"

– Bill Peacock

Mr Peacock continued: "I don't think Stafford Hospital deserves all the bad press it's had. There have been issues. There will almost certainly be issues again. But it is not the only hospital that has had problems and I think Stafford are working very, very hard to overcome those problems and they are winning. No question."

"I think Stafford are working very, very hard to overcome those problems and they are winning. No question."

– Maggie Peacock
David Cameron met Cure the NHS campaigners to discuss standards at Stafford General Hospital Credit: PA

Some people are concerned that years of negative publicity has made some people frightened about the prospect of going into the hospital.

Lyn Hill-Tout, Hospital Chief Executive since 2011, said:

"If you look at the independent evidence about the way this hospital is performing now, it is very good. Indeed in some areas, it is in the top ten per cent of the country...and certainly within this region.

"It is difficult for people. They remember how bad things were, and quite rightly. We must never forget that, but things have moved on."

Dr Charles Spencer, the clinical director in acute care, said:

"The NHS faces some challenging times financially, as does the rest of the country. Here at Stafford, we have prioritised the safety and care of patients ahead of the finances. And for that reason we have an issue with our finances here.

"We have an agreed deficit, which we have agreed with the Department of Health. We will run a deficit this year because we are not going to compromise patient care to make the finances add up."

Medical staff at Stafford Hospital Credit: ITV News Central

"Here at Stafford, we have prioritised the safety and care of patients ahead of the finances."

– Dr Charles Spencer, the clinical director in acute care

Shaun Nakash, who works as a clinical director in emergency care, said:

"The place is unrecognisable to what it was in the past, particularly looking at the emergency care. So if you look at accident and emergency and the acute medical units, we found it is a very safe place to come to now.

"Complaints are down, our compliments are much higher than they have ever been before.

"We are very safe. We are a safe hospital. We had problems in the past with high mortality. And now we don't. It is one of the lowest in the country. It is in the best 20. And we are very proud of that, but it is because of the changes we have made.

"We have learned from the lessons of the past and we have moved forward. We look forward to a brighter future."

"We are very safe. We are a safe hospital. We had problems in the past with high mortality. And now we don't. It is one of the lowest in the country. It is in the best 20."

– Shaun Nakash, clinical director