The chances of a patient dying at Stafford Hospital was almost double the national average for more than a decade, it has been revealed.
And the figure of up to 1,200 patients who died there over the three-year period had been included in an original draft of a damning report - then removed, a public inquiry into poor standards of care has heard.
Meanwhile, the coroner who presided over hundreds of inquests into the deaths of patients at Stafford Hospital is expected to face tough questions over how he addressed concerns over patient care.
Counsel to the inquiry Tom Kark QC said that the number of people who died as a result of poor care had been included in an original draft copy of the damning Healthcare Commission report that revealed the scandal, but was later removed before publication.
He also said that death rates had been consistently higher than the national average for over 10 years.
The figures suggest concerns over patient care and deaths at the hospital stretch back as far as 1997.
Mr Kark told thje inquiry that patients were let down by a "catalogue of failures" by NHS organisations who were often working in isolation or did not understand their own roles.
Almost every NHS agency meant to protect standards and safety for patients at the hospital missed repeated opportunities to spot concerns.
Read more in Wednesday's Express & Star.