An NHS hospital "routinely neglected" patients and displayed "systemic failings" in its approach to care, an independent report said.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust lost sight of its responsibility to provide safe care after managers became preoccupied with cost-cutting and Government targets, the damning study said.
The probe was launched into events at Stafford Hospital after a report last March from the Healthcare Commission revealed a catalogue of failings at the trust, which also runs Cannock Chase Hospital. Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period from 2005 to 2008.
Inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC made 18 recommendations for both the trust and the Government after hearing evidence from more than 900 patients and their family members, and more than 80 staff.
But Julie Bailey, who founded the campaign group Cure The NHS after the death of her mother Bella at the hospital, described the report as "absolutely outrageous" and called for a public inquiry.
While highlighting serious management failings, the report contained dozens of examples of nurses neglecting patients. Some were left unwashed - at times for up to a month - and food and drinks were left out of reach, the inquiry found. Patients were left in dirty bedding and were caused "considerable suffering, distress and embarrassment".
The inquiry concluded that the trust's board - which exacerbated its problems by cutting staff to save £10 million in 2006/7 - was "disconnected" from what was actually happening in the hospital.
Mr Francis said "the scale of failure" was greater than has been revealed to date. While he concluded that Stafford Hospital should not be closed, he recommended that Health Secretary Andy Burnham review whether to remove Mid-Staffordshire's status as a foundation trust - a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS.
In response, Mr Burnham told MPs he accepted all the report's recommendations: "This was ultimately a local failure, but it is vital that we learn the lessons nationally to ensure that it won't happen again - we expect everyone in the NHS to read the report and act on it."
Gordon Brown described the "management failure" as "completely unacceptable". The Prime Minister told MPs the Government was working on plans to "strike off" hospital managers responsible for such issues. "I understand that there are more than 300 cases that are being investigated and every one of these families deserves to have the answers that are necessary."