Jeremy Hunt has compared the Mid Staffs scandal to Chernobyl and the Bhopal gas disaster in an interview with ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener.
The Health Secretary said the accidents - both of which killed thousands and left many more injured - were "turning points" for their industries.
He said he hoped Mid Staffs would mark a similar change in the NHS.
Asked if similar negligence extended across the system, Mr Hunt said front-line staff have warned that "Mid Staffs wasn't just something that happened in one hospital".
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Teenagers, aged 13 and 14, were taken to hospital on Friday morning but passed away, South Yorkshire Police said.
Eleven people remain in hospital.
The 22-year-old wore the full uniform, including hairnet, in Middlesbrough.