NHS chief Sir David Nicholson remains in his role today despite calls for him to resign over the Stafford Hospital scandal.
Victims' families have demanded he step down, but Sir David said he is "not ashamed" of being in his job following the publication of the Francis Report.
It highlighted the "appalling and unnecessary suffering" of patients at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009.
Sir David, who was chief executive of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority (WMSHA) between August 2005 and April 2006, told ITV News: "I am not ashamed of being in my job today.
"Clearly it was a whole system failure and we need to reflect on what Francis says, the whole of the NHS - myself, leaders in the NHS, doctors and nurses - need to reflect on what we can learn from that to make sure it never happens again."
A public inquiry has blamed a failure 'at every level' of the NHS for the abuses at Stafford Hospital that resulted in hundreds of deaths.
The chair of the inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS made 290 recommendations to prevent the 'disaster' of Stafford Hospital occurring again.
Managers at Stafford Hospital accept that there were problems on some of the wards. But they say it's now one of the best in the country.