Stafford Hospital inquiry: Patients' families 'felt let down'

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A doctor has told an inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital that patients and families felt let down by the complaints procedure.

A public inquiry is being held into the higher-than-expected number of deaths at the hospital between 2005 and 2008.

Dr Mike Laker was appointed in April 2009 to interview the families of patients who died at the hospital about their concerns about patient care.

He said the complaints process did not meet their needs.

In 2009 NHS watchdog the Healthcare Commission said the hospital's "appalling" emergency care resulted in patients dying needlessly.

The public inquiry into what happened started in November.

'Families reassured'

Dr Laker, who worked at Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Trust, carried out independent case note reviews of more than 100 patients who died, the inquiry heard.

He said many people were genuinely suffering from their experience there.

Families of patients who had died were reassured action would be taken to stop similar incidents happening again but he saw subsequent complaints highlighting the same problems about care, he added.

The inquiry has already heard from David Kidney, Labour MP for Stafford from 1997 to 2010, and Bill Cash, Conservative MP for Stone, among others.

By mid-December, after six weeks of evidence, BBC Radio Stoke reported that between April and October the inquiry had cost just over £1.4m.

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