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Health service, pride of Britain, ravaged by hospital scandal

Published on Feb 6, 2013 11:46 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - The deaths of hundreds of hospital patients, left without food or water in filthy conditions, exposed an urgent need to change the culture of Britain's National Health Service (NHS), a report said on Wednesday.

Between 400 and 1,200 patients are estimated to have died needlessly at Stafford Hospital in central England between January 2005 and March 2009 in one of the worst scandals to hit the NHS since it was founded in 1948.

"There were patients so desperate for water that they were drinking from dirty flower vases," Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament in a statement on the report.

Describing events at Stafford Hospital as "a despicable catalogue of clinical and managerial failures", Mr Cameron apologised to all the families affected on behalf of the government and the country.

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