The chief executive hired to turn around failing Stafford Hospital said he “flipped out” in a meeting as board members were failing to address serious issues of care.
Giving evidence to the public inquiry into appalling standards at the hospital, Antony Sumara said even after the Health Care Commission’s report in March 2009 many staff were still in denial about the problems.
And at one of the first meetings he attended there were no items of discussion about patient care.
“I couldn’t believe this was one of the worst performing hospitals and they didn’t have a single agenda point which dealt with any of the major issues.
“Those present didn’t have the right focus. One item was about a football pitch and whether we should talk to the local authority about whether we should sell some ground for a football pitch. At that point I flipped out.
“Hospitals are really simple, they are organisations that care and look after people, that’s what I wanted to be on the agenda.”
Mr Sumara, who took control of the hospital in August 2009, also said there was a culture of denial which permeated all levels of the hospital.
Speaking about former director of nursing Helen Moss, he said: “She was not taking responsibility for what happened and was saying she wanted to be part of the solution.
“If that’s denial I don’t know but there certainly wasn’t a sense of remorse.
“There was more a sense of anger that we had attracted that sort of attention. I heard comments time and time again that this happened everywhere and we were the unlucky ones to be caught out.”
Following the HCC’s report, which said between 400 and 1,000 patients could have died because of poor standards, a 107 point plan was drawn up for the hospital.