Mid Staffordshire foundation trust has shown contempt for its dead patients, the bereaved and local people by refusing to publish the report into the conduct of its former chief executive.

The trust has even defied a written request from then health secretary Alan Johnson to release the report into Martin Yeates.

As the current furores over the Iraq war inquiry and MPs’ expenses demonstrate, the public is taking an increasingly robust line over its right to know what public servants have been doing. It is rapidly becoming an unwritten part of the contract of public service. An NHS that puts patients at the heart of what it does should embrace this openness.

The arrogance of Mid Staffordshire in trying to hide the truth is breathtaking. The appalling care inflicted on its patients has left literally thousands of people wondering if their loved ones would still be alive if they had received better treatment. Their right to know what happened far outweighs the right to confidentiality of the chief executive.