Scandal-hit hospital let 'public down'
NHS national head Sir David Nicholson has apologised for the 'scandalous failings' at crisis-hit Stafford hospital.
He admitted the health service had let down people in the most 'devastating' way.
However, a week before the publication of the Francis report on the centre, Sir David added that apologies were not enough for the families affected by the hospital's shortcomings, and pledged to respond 'positively and swiftly' to the recommendations of the public inquiry.
The chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board also promised to avoid a repeat by radically strengthening the voice of patients, giving them 'much more clout' than ever before.
Speaking at an event in London, Sir David said: "Next week the NHS will have to face up to difficult truths about what happens when the health service goes badly wrong.
"When the first Francis report came out I read at length all the accounts of patients' families and experiences.
"No-one could fail to be moved and it was a watershed moment for me in my understanding of the issues that happened. They are difficult reading for anyone who really believes in the NHS and are committed to doing great things for patients.
"I urged all leaders of the NHS to read these accounts and I will be encouraging them to do so again.
"As a human being, and as chief executive of the NHS, I want to apologise to the people, their families and carers for the truly dreadful experiences that they had to go through."