Three members of staff at Stafford Hospital have been suspended because of concerns over nursing care for an older patient.
Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust said the three staff were on duty at the time of an incident earlier this month, which was “reported quickly” by nursing staff.
The trust, which has been at the centre of a major public inquiry into care failings, confirmed an investigation was under way.
It also said its director of nursing, Colin Ovington, and the relevant ward manager had met the patient’s family.
“This incident, which was reported quickly by nursing staff, is in respect of a concern about lack of nursing care provided to an elderly patient on November 15 at Stafford Hospital,” said a statement from Julie Hendry, director of quality and patient experience at the trust.
“Three members of staff who were on duty at the time have been suspended while an immediate investigation is being carried out,” it added.
“Colin Ovington, director of nursing, along with the ward manager, met with the patient’s family as soon as we were aware of the allegation to provide them with details of the incident and explain what actions are being undertaken,” it said.
The trust would not comment further about the nature of the incident or the staff that have been suspended.
However, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy told the BBC the incident was not linked to staff shortages, which have previously been an issue at the trust. The “correct number of staff” were on duty at the time, he said, adding that the patient had simply been “overlooked”.
In a statement, Mr Lefroy told Nursing Times: “I was very disturbed to hear of this incident and my thoughts are with the patient concerned.
“The fact that a member of staff quickly report this appalling incident and the hospital took immediate action is an example of the culture of candour that must be upheld throughout the NHS,” he said. “However, it is even more important that patients safety is paramount and that such things do not occur in the first place.”
He added: “The standard and quality of care at Stafford Hospital has improved in recent years, but there continues to be no room for complacency as this incident clearly demonstrates.”
The incident comes just weeks before a decision is due to be made on the future of services at Stafford Hospital.
Administrators appointed by foundation trust regulator Monitor are due to publish their recommendations early next year.
It was announced in July that Mr Ovington would be leaving Mid Staffordshire to become chief nurse of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust later this year. He has been at Mid Staffordshire since June 2010, having joined after the high profile failings that sparked the Francis report.
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