Police have launched a criminal inquiry after a four-month-old baby boy was found with a dummy taped to his face at a scandal-hit hospital.
Staffordshire Police said they were in the early stages of an investigation into the baby's treatment at Stafford Hospital, which is at the centre of a public inquiry into serious failings of care.
The trust which runs the hospital has apologised to the family of the baby, who was not injured in the incident.
In a statement issued by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, director of nursing and midwifery Colin Ovington said: "We have a zero-tolerance approach to poor patient care and we take immediate, appropriate action as soon as we know about any potential serious incidents which happen in our hospitals.
"One of our recent incidents involved a dummy that was found taped on to a baby's face. Fortunately, the baby was unharmed."
Mr Ovington added: "The incident is under investigation by the police and so we are unable to give any more information at the moment. A member of staff has been suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation and the trust's investigation under our disciplinary policy.
"We cannot emphasise strongly enough that this incident is exceptional and apologise again to the family. We want other hospitals to learn from this incident so that we can be sure that it does not happen to any other baby."
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Officers from our Protecting Vulnerable People Department are at the very early stages of investigating a complaint concerning the treatment of a baby boy by a member of staff at Stafford Hospital earlier this month. The baby boy, who was four months old at the time, was not harmed as a result. We are liaising closely with his family and the NHS trust concerning the matter."
The report from the public inquiry into failings at the trust will be published on February 6. It is understood the inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC will recommend wide-ranging reforms of the NHS.
The £11 million review of what went wrong at Stafford Hospital between January 2005 and March 2009 will suggest hospitals that cover up mistakes by doctors and poor treatment of patients should face fines and possible closure, it has been reported. A separate highly-critical report by the Healthcare Commission in 2009 revealed a catalogue of failings at the trust and said "appalling standards" had put patients at risk.