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I share my hon. Friend's view that restoring public confidence-on the face of it, that is the Government's intention-can now be done in Staffordshire only on the basis of an independent and public inquiry. We are committed to that. However, he must recall that the problems-the quality issues-at Stafford hospital started not with foundation status, but before that. They had started over a considerable period of time when the trust was an NHS trust under the scrutiny of the strategic health authority and the Department of Health, directly under the scrutiny of the Secretary of State. As the events at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells told us, the Secretary of State's direct line of sight to hospitals does not mean that the Secretary of State knows what is going on and is doing anything about it; we have seen too many instances of that.
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