Stafford Hospital: Strategic Health Authority official 'sorry'

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A health director who toured Stafford Hospital at the height of its problems has apologised after saying he saw nothing to concern him at the time.

Peter Blythin, director of nursing at the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, has given evidence to the inquiry into the hospital's failings.

It is looking at the role of regulatory bodies after a higher than expected number of deaths between 2005 and 2008.

Mr Blythin met managers in February 2008, the inquiry heard.

'No idea'

He said he spoke to staff but it was not a formal inspection and his main priority was dealing with the level of training for staff and he said nothing concerned him.

He was aware of concerns about staffing levels at the trust and within the A&E department before his visit, the inquiry heard.

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

Mr Blythin told the inquiry he was shocked when the report came out, saying he had no idea how bad things were.

The inquiry continues.

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