Published Thu, 2010-12-09 15:45; updated 1 year ago.

Members of Stafford Borough Council fell asleep at meetings to scrutinize the care at Stafford Hospital, a public inquiry has heard.

A statement by Mrs Castell Davis was read out at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, which outlined Mrs Davis’ dissatisfaction at the way her mother was treated at the hospital.

As a result of this dissatisfaction Mrs Davis and Ms Julie Bailey, founder of the campaigning group Cure the NHS, attended a Stafford Borough Council scrutiny committee meeting in February 2008.

"Julie Bailey wanted to know how the hospital staff were monitoring the feeding of the elderly. That was what the meeting was all about," said Mrs Davis.

"The committee members were very civilised but there was no real scrutiny. The questioning was so bland and two committee members even dropped off to sleep during the meeting.

"We had prepared some questions and some suggestions which were required to be submitted to the committee in advance of the meeting, but we were only allowed to sit and listen at the meeting.

"There was a round table at the centre of the room but we sat around the edge near the walls and just had to listen. We had a suggestion of implementing a red tray system.

"The red tray was basically if someone needed help eating they would have a red tray to identify this. It was based on the fact that elderly people won't ask for help to eat their food.

"The meeting was just a farce. The nurses used jargon such as 'pathways' and gave the impression that feeding of elderly patients was closely monitored. This was clearly not the case. They also stated that a red tray system was being introduced.

"At the meeting it was decided that the trust representatives would attend the next meeting to update the committee on progress to implement their plans.

"The next meeting was due to take place on 31 March 2008, but the trust sent a message on the day of the meeting to say that nobody was available to attend.

"Mrs Jean Hammill, who is my friend and not a member of Cure the NHS, was outraged that the trust held the scrutiny committee in such contempt.

"She stood up and told them that the trust's behaviour was a disgrace and she stormed out of the meeting. The scrutinee [committee] in turn were horrified that a member of the public had the temerity to speak at their meeting and proceeded to say how outrageous Jean's behaviour was.

"There was no outrage at the fact that the trust had been asked to attend this meeting and did not."

This evidence was heard on Wednesday, December 8. The hearing resumed on Thursday, December 9.