12/11/2010 12:41 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Newborn Twins Die After Blunder At Scandal-Hit Hospital

A pair of newborn twins have died after an apparent mistake by staff at scandal-hit Staffordshire Hospital.

The baby boys died 11 days ago after being treated at the hospital, which has been heavily criticised for its "appalling" levels of care. A new inquiry is now underway.

One member of staff has been suspended.

The cause of death is believed to have been an error involving a drug application. Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stafford Hospital, told The Guardian newspaper that a report into the incident concluded it involved the "wrong rate of infusion."

Antony Sumara, chief executive of the trust, said: "We are all absolutely devastated that the twins have passed away. Our deepest sympathy and our thoughts are with the parents and their loved ones at this most difficult time.

'We have commissioned a full external investigation being led by an independent paediatric doctor. At present we have suspended one member of staff."

Sumara did not to say which drug was involved, what led to the boys' deaths, or whether the suspended member of staff is a nurse, doctor or other health professional.

The hospital has asked a paediatrician who works elsewhere to undertake a full external investigation, and the Stafford coroner has also opened and adjourned an inquest into their deaths.

The incident will raise fresh questions about the quality of care at Stafford Hospital. Earlier this week, Robert Francis QC opened a public inquiry into the NHS's failure to spot and stop what he called 'appalling care' and a catalogue of failings at the hospital between January 2005 and March 2009.

Peter Walsh, chief executive of patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents, said: 'This incident is doubly tragic. First and foremost for the family concerned... and secondly, it could not come at a worse time for the hospital and its staff who have been trying so hard to recover and improve since the infamous scandal it has been embroiled in.'

Geraint Griffiths, acting chief executive of South Staffordshire primary care trust, the local NHS body that pays for many local people to be treated at Stafford hospital, said: "The PCT has been notified by mid-Staffordshire NHS foundation trust about two patient deaths ... and a full external investigation ... has begun."