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Gordon Brown has apologized after an investigation showed that the British National Health Service-run Stafford Hospital was so abyssmally bad that patients drank water out of flowerpots and that too many died in squalor or agony as untrained and undermanned staff were forced to meet "targets" instead of providing the care they advertised. Brown claimed these were "isolated" incidents.
The commission's report - revealed in yesterday's Daily Mail - said at least 400 deaths could not be explained, although it is feared up to 1,200 patients may have died needlessly.
Speaking to MPs at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Mr Brown said: "We do apologise to all those people who have suffered from the mistakes that have been made in the Stafford hospital."
Some readers of the Daily Mail sent accounts of their own experience.
"My wife had treatment at this hospital and it was beyond belief. Staff tried to get my wife to believe she had already been given her tablets when they hadn't; later admitting they ran out and did not want to call out the Pharmacy! People were screaming for the toilet as their requests for assistance went unheeded."
"My mother in law died at a hospital where her 'care' was almost non-existant. She died screaming in pain because nobody could be found to replace her morphine pump." Claire, Norfolk
"When my father was in hospital for months, he lay in a bed with dirty, torn blankets and grubby sheets. I asked to see the Hospital Manager and was walked through the most plush of offices. I was sickened and told her so." Sammy, UK
"My sister recently qualified as a nurse. During her training a fellow student commented to a manager that a doctor hadn't bothered to change his scrubs after undertaking a minor operation on a patient and wore the same ones for his next operation. She was warned any whistle blowing of that sort would result in her being kicked out." Jo, Middlesex
Any system, whether public or private, is made up of people. The circumstance that it has to work; that it should work; or that it must work is irrlevant. It won't work unless it is made to work. Just look at how well Dodd, Geithner and Obama have been managing the financial crisis. If they were doctors in charge of a patient's life, how much better would they do?