A report has heavily criticised the standards of care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Conducted by the Healthcare Commission, it said that the deaths of at least 400 patients at Staffordshire General Hospital may have been the result of the inadequate care provided to them.
According to the commission, receptionists with no medical training were given responsibility for carrying out assessments on accident and emergency (A&E) patients and people were left in pain for hours without any treatment.
Heather Wood, the lead investigator, said that between 400 and 1,200 more people died at the hospital that would have been expected over a period of three years.
The report also suggested that there were too few trained staff, junior doctors were left alone in charge at night and wards and bathrooms were dirty.
It claimed that senior managers were so obsessed with meeting targets that they failed to correct problems in the care of patients in the A&E department.
Paul Sankey, clinical negligence partner at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "It is clear that many of these errors could have been avoided if lessons had been learned from previous mistakes.
"What is needed is a patient-centred culture in which pursuing targets does not detract from care."