Did ‘Cure the NHS’ break the law to try to silence a critic?

Blackmail: ugly AND illegal

I will state at the outset of this article that the actions outlined are not proven to originate with ‘Cure’ – at least yet. I will lay out the facts as I understand them to be and you can reach your own conclusions.

Since I wrote in February to expose the falsehood that has been deliberately entrenched in the public consciousness – that there were 400-1200 ‘excess’ deaths at Stafford Hospital – I’ve come in for a fair amount of abuse from supporters of the so-called “patients’ group” Cure the NHS. Cure‘s credibility will be severely damaged if the discrediting of Stafford’s mortality statistics becomes generally accepted, so I guess this is not surprising.

Some of it has been quite mild, for example calling me variations of an ‘irrelevant lefty’. Some has been much more ugly, such as ‘how dare you disrespect our dead!’ or calling me a misogynist and even a ‘friend of paedophiles’, accusations which are not only unfounded but also happen to be entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether my facts are correct (which I’ve found to be a consisten pattern when you present any facts that Cure‘s supporters disagree with).

But it appears that I’ve escaped fairly lightly so far and that some people associated with Cure might be prepared to go a lot further in order to cause trouble for, and to attempt to silence, people who present facts that are inconvenient to their self-appointed position as ‘saviours’ of the NHS – and, not insignificantly, the media’s ‘go-to’ group when any patient issues are discussed.

One critic of Cure on Twitter is a certain post-graduate student, whom I won’t name here, but who studies not a million miles from Stafford. A short time ago, an anonymous letter was sent to the student’s University, complaining about his/her comments on Twitter. Bear in mind that we’re talking about factual comments – issues of statistics, data input and sources etc.

This letter, shockingly, included information about ‘spent’ convictions from the student’s past – and threatened to send these details to the press if the university did not prevent the student from making comments challenging the basis of the claims on which Cure campaigns.

A ‘spent’ conviction, according to the ‘Ask the Police‘ website, is

a conviction which, under the terms of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, can be effectively ignored after a specified amount of time.

The law therefore does not consider spent convictions relevant to eligibility to a university place, and the student has done nothing wrong in not mentioning them to the university – if indeed they were not mentioned on the application, which they may have been anyway.

For someone to raise these legally and practically irrelevant matters with the university is deeply malicious. For someone to threaten to write to the newspapers about them if the student is not gagged, is blackmail and therefore deeply illegal.

As things stand, there is no evidence to directly link any particular individual to this letter. However, the specific reference to tweets about Cure inevitably suggest that it is from someone with a strong interest in quashing any views that undermine Cure‘s position in the media limelight.

While this malignant tactic is more extreme, it is unfortunately far from inconsistent with the aggressive and accusatory reaction by supporters of Cure to any challenge to their position or claims, even when purely addresses facts, as my own experience attests.

I understand that the matter of the letter is likely to be in the hands of the police very shortly, which is exactly the right response to attempted blackmail and coercion – and that the letter may be analysed for DNA and other trace evidence that could link it to a specific perpetrator or perpetrators. If and when I have more information, you’ll read it here.


  1. “For someone to raise these legally and practically irrelevant matters with the university is deeply malicious”

    Seeing as this blog post is titled “Did ‘Cure the NHS’ break the law to try to silence a critic?”, but acknowledges that actually, there’s nothing to tie ‘Cure the NHS’ to the letter which you write about, the above sentence seems rather hypocritical. Also, without the text from the letter, it is difficult for anyone to judge whether whoever sent this letter did anything wrong anyway. The magazine lettering ‘blackmail’ image being associated with ‘Cure the NHS’ in this way seems like a pretty cheap attack.

    I’ve seen a lot of unpleasant stuff on twitter from critics of ‘Cure the NHS’ too, including people expressing a desire to see Julie Bailey hurt and requiring medical attention, people talking of attacking her cafe, and so on. None of this means that she is right, but any discussion of heated rhetoric around Cure the NHS should recognise the attacks she has received.

    Also, while the 400-1600 range needed to be wide and may still be flawed, the HSMR data is still more likely to provide an accurate estimate of excess deaths than the case note review which skywalker1964 used to claim that there were no (or “maybe one”) excess deaths during the 2005-2009 period.

    I think that there’s some good information on this blog, but it does also sometimes descend into one-sided hackery.

    1. It’s a question, but it needs to be asked – and the shameful tactic deserves exposure. Cure are big on naming and shaming.

      The 400-1200 figure is a nonsense – and the HSMRs were BELOW the national average once the coding was corrected.

      The supposed ‘threat’ to JB was so overblown as to be a nonsense – the man used rhetoric to highlight the need for A&E in the town and how stuck she or anyone would be without the hospital. To make an issue of that someone would have to be stupid, vindictive, or just seeking more limelight.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, though, and I won’t lash out at you for expressing it – unlike some.

      1. “To make an issue of that someone would have to be stupid, vindictive, or just seeking more limelight.”

        Again, given the nature of this blog post, and your own complaints of abuse, there does seem to be a danger of hypocrisy there.

        Also, Brian Jarman makes a number of fair points about your interpretation of the HSMR data. While it is wrong to confidently present the 400-1200 figures without provisos, I do not think it should be seen as any worse than your assertion that there were no excess deaths.

      2. There were no ‘excess’ deaths – the HSMR was below the national average once the input was corrected (and it was audited, so it wasn’t ‘gaming’). This is not to say there were no ‘avoidable’ deaths. Every hospital in the world has avoidable deaths, because care can never be perfect, all the time.

      3. Before you get too entrenched in your defence, you might want to consider the fact that Julie Bailey – as she herself stated to Radio 4’s ‘The Long View’ programme, amazingly without query from the interviewer – claims to have heard patients fall to the floor in the next room to her mother’s and then left them to lie on the floor, crying for help, without doing anything to help or even raising the alarm, until they went quiet.

      4. I think that your interpretation of the data around excess deaths is one-sided. While you could be right to be extremely cynical about some of the claims being made, you seem to combine this with a deep naivety when it comes to other claims being made. Presenting the case-note review as convincing evidence that there was only one excess death is bizarre: imagine if a similar exercise were under-taken by the DWP to investigate how often ATOS reports were inaccurate – would you promote their findings in the same way? Also, the gaming of figures within the NHS is so endemic that it’s completely implausible to just claim that an audit shows there was no gaming of figures – what is debatable is the extent of gaming and what impact it will have had.

        Despite not following any of the people involved on twitter, I was still able to guess who this blog post referred to. Having now read the court findings that are online, I think that this a more substantial problem than Julie Bailey having been in hospital with her mother, and not going to care for another patient who was calling for help from the next room. We do not know exactly what happened in Bailey’s case, but I have previously found myself in situations where I have not acted to help others, as I wrongly assumed that someone else would do so. In a hospital, this does not sound like an unsurprising response.

        In the other instance, I think that the criminal matter is of relevance to this individual’s moral judgements about personal responsibility, and the extent to which disciplinary action should be taken against medical staff given different levels of evidence.
        This individual was appealing against disciplinary action which they felt to be unwarranted in the material I read. Also, given the nature of their work for the university, I think that the specifics of this offence, and the testimony provided as to the motivations for the offence are of relevance. Without knowing the text of the letter sent to the university, it is very difficult to say whether anything wrong was done at all, never mind whether it has any association with Cure the NHS.

      5. If you hear someone crying for help over and over until eventually they fall silent, you can’t claim to be assuming that someone else would help – especially if you do it more than once. You’re attempting to defend the indefensible – grasping at straws to keep believing in the credibility of someone whose credibility is shot. There are plenty of people with criminal records doing worthwhile work – and plenty with expertise that is not remotely affected by their past record. Matters of statistics have nothing to do with morals. Neither do you have to be Snow White to identify press misbehaviour, nor is any attempt to use someone’s past to silence them anything but cowardly and vile. Attack the claims on a factual basis by all mean – or even use relevant past incidents. But this is just a low attempt to shut someone up whose facts can’t be refuted. Again, you’re defending the indefensible – blackmail to try to silence an inconvenient opponent.

        You claim that gaming of stats is ‘endemic’ within the NHS. If you have any actual evidence of that, which I doubt very much, I’d be most interested to see it. But let’s assume you’re correct – that makes the mortality statistics at Stafford even more meaningless. You’re trying to have it both ways, and it’s so flawed that to persist removes any credibility at all from your views.

        I’m not saying the ICNR was flawless – but it’s massively more weighty and reliable than statistics that are seriously flawed no matter which way you look at them. That apart, I suspect that PwC would take issue with your claim that their audit – which looked at the accuracy of coding specifically – is somehow unreliable and corrupt just because you think coding in other hospitals is awry.

  2. A few questions for you.

    Where did the “400-1200 ‘excess’ deaths” figure come from? Can you show me where Cure the NHS have said this, please? I have heard it was from the government.

    “I’ve come in for a fair amount of abuse from supporters of the so-called “patients’ group” Cure the NHS.” Where is your evidence for this, please?

    Without any evidence to connect Cure the NHS to the letter you talk about are you not simply abusing them? I could accuse you of doing under the sun, but without evidence the accusation is surely without meaning or merit.

    What is your motivation to write about this subject? Are you from Stafford? Have you or a relative had a connection to the hospital?

    1. Where did the “400-1200 ‘excess’ deaths” figure come from? Can you show me where Cure the NHS have said this, please? I have heard it was from the government.

      No, the government only started using it after it was leaked by an unknown party – but someone who was at the HSC committee meeting discussing the report, which had decided not to use the figures because they were so unsound.

      “I’ve come in for a fair amount of abuse from supporters of the so-called “patients’ group” Cure the NHS.” Where is your evidence for this, please?

      Twitter, easily found by searching the dates around any of my articles on Stafford mortality rates.

      Without any evidence to connect Cure the NHS to the letter you talk about are you not simply abusing them?

      Posing a question based on evidence is not abuse. My experience has been that Cure like to cry ‘abuse’ about anything they don’t want people to say.

      I could accuse you of doing under the sun, but without evidence the accusation is surely without meaning or merit.

      There is evidence. It’s not conclusive, hence the caveat – but it is suggestive.

      What is your motivation to write about this subject? Are you from Stafford? Have you or a relative had a connection to the hospital?

      No. My motivation is an interest in facts, especially when I see them as grossly distorted as they have been around events at Stafford. I have nothing to gain or lose by highlighting that distortion.

  3. In the wake of Sir David Nicholsons resignation I heard Julie Bailey peddle the hundreds of needless deaths myth on radio 5. She couldnt have failed to notice that this has been categorically exposed as factually incorrect but more than happy to repeat it for motives that need clarifying. I was talking to someone recently from one the CCGs in that area and they were quite clear that there was a concerted attempt to destroy a hospital at work.

    1. Blimey, I thought the CCGs were part (maybe even a large part) of the problem when it comes to the proposed closure of all acute services in Mid Staffs. Have they changed their mind – or are they going to blame someone else for the debacle when Mr Hunt blames them?! (or is the TSA going to be a sensible chap – we live in hope).

  4. So you delete replies that counter your view, that paint the very real picture that your Twitter friend is not exactly the upstanding, law-abiding, victim you claim him he is? Claims that require no evidence require an equal level of evidence to disprove, until then it’s the usual smear tactics that should be consigned to the rubbish bin. Ironic that your blog is the only evidence of threats being made, police action etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if no letter had been sent and this is simply a proactive act to discredit Cure, concocted by a group of individuals with political motivation.

    1. I deleted your previous comment because I considered it contemptible, David – and I emailed you to explain why. However, since you appear to be posting comments using a false email address, the email bounced back to me undelivered. Since that’s the case, I’ll tell you here what I think: posting things about people that have no relevance to the veracity of what they have said about Cure is contemptible. The person who sent that letter to the university should be ashamed of her/himself – and so should you.

      1. Feel free to email me at dbanneruk@yahoo.co.uk. The email address and my identity are very real. What may have happened is a technical fault, common with Yahoo Mail at present but outside of my control.

    2. As for law-abiding and upstanding, you’re an idiot. The very fact I referred to spent convictions acknowledges a past history – but to bring those past events up when they have nothing to do with the argument is disgraceful. Sadly it’s entirely consistent with the tactics used by ‘Cure’ supporters whenever anyone says anything they don’t like. If you can’t obscure the facts, go for the messenger, I guess. Here’s the email I tried to send you:

      I’ve deleted your comment as I don’t want that kind of information about someone on display on my blog. Do you think I didn’t look it up for myself?

      I’m fully aware of what the issues were but I also know that they’re irrelevant to xxx’s work at the uni and the veracity of their statements on the Stafford issue.

      To try to use them to shut up someone with inconvenient views is absolutely inexcusable as well as criminal and the action should be exposed for what it is. Whoever is responsible should ashamed. Sadly I doubt they are, and it’s all too consistent with Cure’s approach to any disagreement or criticism.

      The evidence is in the letter, whose existence is not in doubt – and which will shortly be in the hands of the police. As for libel, my blog is very clear that Cure may not be responsible – but there’s little room for doubt that a Cure sympathiser at the least is the source of the letter. A non-specific conclusion is not libel, nor is a question – and in any case truth is an absolute defence against the accusation of libel, and that will be known soon enough. Truth is not a defence against blackmail though – and that’s what’s at issue with this shameful letter.”

      And here’s what I received back:

      “This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

      Delivery to the following recipients failed.


      Any more of this kind of malignant nonsense and I won’t just delete a comment I’ll mark you as spam.

  5. I find your blog contemptible, hence my original and now deleted response. The title of the blog suggests what you believe. You then state that there is no proof of Cures involvement, yet, which clearly presupposes that this will be the case.

    Spent convictions, and how they become spent, is a legal framework, not a moral one. You will also know that these crimes never become spent in certain scenarios, so attempts to kill them off as unimportant to an individuals credibility is at best disingenuous, at worst ignorance.

    The individual consistently talks of evidence, but never produces any. He accuses Cure of exaggeration, manipulation and dishonesty but fails to produce anything other than opinion and hearsay.

    It is not a stretch of the imagination to suggest, using the same logic, that no letter has been sent, no letter exists and this is part of a continued web of lies that this individual engages in daily. This could all be a work of fiction by a person who has a clear and documented history of bullying, harassment, and manipulation. The fact you side with him says far more about you than it ever would me, or Cure for that matter.

    The email address and name I’ve provided exist, are valid and real, that is my name. I’m a Stafford resident, not a member of Cure, and a supporter of Stafford Hospital. What I’m not a supporter of is people that take pot shots from afar, or based on evidence they claim, but don’t show. It’s a hate campaign you’re engaged in, you know it, I know it.

    Please feel free to block as SPAM, it will say far more about how you deal with dissent and difference of opinion than I ever could.

    1. The mere fact that we’re having this discussion on my blog, in public, makes a nonsense of half your complaint.

      But I have a question for you, David. It’s quite a simple one. I was careful in my article not to name the victim, nor the university, nor the nature of the spent convictions.

      So how do you know who it is and what’s involved?

      1. How so when you delete replies? I have not named the apparent “victim” but suggestions that its not absolutely self-evident to who you refer is churlish, unless of course you have a number of people with identical profiles that are equally as vocal? This would of course raise a wider concern in itself, and would suggest multiple people with morally reprehensible backgrounds, spent or otherwise, involved in the obvious hate campaign against Cure, or anyone that dissents against Stafford Hospital.

      2. I deleted one reply, David – and tried to email you to explain why. My policy on contrary opinion has always been to let any comments stand unless they’re pornographic or inciting hate – but the nature of your comments in that reply veered well into that latter territory, and I won’t have this blog become a noticeboard for that kind of assault.

      3. Oh, and with that latter comment I think you need to be very careful about libel yourself. Fortunately, I’m not the litigious type – but others might be.

    2. And as for ‘the individual’ and evidence, I follow his tweets fairly closely and his talk about evidence largely seems to be challenging those who support the discredited death statistics to provide evidence for their claims. Challenges which are met with deafening silence, from what I’ve seen.

      1. If that were true, which it isn’t, then I’d agree. The death statistics are wholly dubious, but your take is too far in one direction, theirs the opposite. The truth will lie somewhere in between and the truth is we’ll never know.

        The individual claims that talk of harassment, grave desecrations etc are not proven and implies they’re a work of fiction, and has asked for proof on numerous occasions. Using the same logic and tactic then surely the same applies to this, and indeed your accusation?

        So therein lies the rub. Without proof these are just allegations and counter allegations, and he is simply adopting an approach that he is so vocally against, hypocritical at best, sinister at worst. When you review past behaviour of this individual, his total lack of appreciation or remorse for his victims (which is well documented), plus the harassment and bullying which is self-evident in his approach then I feel, with justification, that the role of victim is not a cap that fits him well.

        Your thinly veiled hate campaign is exactly that.

      2. Asking for proof of something doesn’t place the burden of proof on the asker. Given the histrionic nature of a number of the claims, it’s perfectly valid to ask for evidence that they really happened. Personally, I can imagine that they did – but Cure were hardly reticent about flinging accusations around about who they thought did it, without any evidence at all. It’s a blatant double-standard and I’m not inclined to pander to it.

        Do you seriously doubt that the letter exists? I don’t, and I doubt you do either. All will be clear soon enough if the victim goes to the police as I’ve advised him to do.

        As for hypocritical, hardly. If Cure claimed that the attack on the grave was clearly carried out by someone opposed to Julie Bailey and to Cure, who could argue with that? The exact person might be unknown, but the general origin of the attack could hardly be doubted. Similarly here – I said explicitly that the exact provenance of the letter is as yet unproven. But there’s no realistic doubt that it came from a Cure supporter if not a member. You appear to apply very different standards to anyone who opposes the group to what you use for the group itself.

    3. Re “legal not moral”: if you truly believe acting illegally to be the moral course of action, then do so proudly and accept the consequences of doing so – in this case, prosecution.

      However, while we’re talking about the law, by posting details that should not be posted on this blog, there’s a good chance you open its publishers up to legal action themselves, on the grounds that they have ultimate editorial responsibility for comments. Given that, it’s extremely difficult to see how Steve *could* have held off from deleting your original comment. Could you clarify that (a) your intention was not to drop him in it legally, and (b) since you are so keen to publish this information, you will be doing so on a blog which is unambiguously your own legal responsibility, and to which we can refer when reporting you to the appropriate authorities?

      Thanks in advance.

  6. Dave.
    Good morning. Been thinking about your comments, and the questions they raise, and what that means about the complex mixture of thinking on these difficult issues in our town.
    What I have been trying to do over the years since 2009 is to make sure that our perceptions on our problems here are based on evidence. I am therefore happy to see that you also feel the need for that approach.
    It is good that you question the excess death figures, and the patchy evidence on some of the other issues. I agree with you that it is very very difficult to get to the truth of many of the issues involved.
    My position on this is based on years of scrutiny of what the press have had to say, which has often been at variance with information I have from other sources, and also on spending 9 months listening to the evidence at the Public Inquiry. This gave me another opportunity to compare what I was seeing with my own eyes and hearing with my own ears, with what appeared in the press. There was often a pretty wide gap and it is therefore no surprise to me that there is quite considerable confusion within the community.
    It has been a very confusing time.
    As a resident of Stafford I am sure that you will agree with me that we are generally a pretty easy going lot. We have put up with what the last 5 years has thrown at us, but it is not surprising that the real threat to our hospital now has raised the temperature considerably.
    This is dangerous. People on all sides are over excited, and some pretty extraordinary allegations are being thrown about. People are being hurt and that is unacceptable.
    I have personally been very glad of the support of Steve in taking the time and trouble to do a deep dive into the millions of words written on these complex matters and make the incredibly obscure detail of the confusion over the statistics both intelligible and readable.
    Helping people to understand these complex matters will help to put the future of Stafford hospital on a more secure footing, it will also I think help people to understand that the issues that we saw here are occurring throughout the NHS. We have a huge challenge ahead of us, and it is in the interests of everyone throughout Stafford and in the rest of the country to try to understand what this challenge is, and how we can work towards solutions.
    I think that your posts indicate an anxiety about the way these difficult issues have divided people in Stafford. I feel that anxiety too. A lot of it stems from the fact that far too much of the row has been conducted through the press and media, and that it has been very far from being a balanced dialogue. People do not talk face to face, and this needs to happen.
    If you would like to have a quiet discussion with me, so that I can understand your fears better, then I am happy for you to get in touch.

  7. Thanks Diane, a thoughtful response that resonates with every aspect of the whole piece as I see. I neither support Cure per se, or the opposite view that they’re the enemy. I truly believe we all, when all said and done, have the same intention and that’s for the best hospital Mid-Staffs can be, knowing the pursuit of perfection is wishful thinking but unrealistic, given financial constraints etc.

    I see bullying on Twitter and Facebook, I don’t doubt that the animosity is two-way on occasion, but the blog above is of questionable virtue, not in keeping with Steve’s typical evidence-based approach and is provocative. I have no sympathy for the Tweeter in question, if you bully, target and harass people then you should expect the expected. That doesn’t make it right by any means, but makes it a potential reaction to daily provocation. You can’t then claim to be the victim.

    The best thing would be for sensible talks, but I sense that this is no longer possible. In part due to the continuation of online attacks on Cure by people that are, in my opinion, targeting the wrong group. Cure cannot close Mid-Staffs, neither can the media, the Government hold that power alone.

    50,000 people (of which I was one) were not wrong, a very small percentage were, and continue to target the wrong group.

    1. Cure do not have the power to close a hospital, but they’re an extremely useful tool in the hands of those that can and that wish to do so with minimal national fallout. I don’t regard Cure as the enemy, just as a weapon in the enemy’s hands, whether wittingly or unwittingly. But there’s no denying that Cure’s approach is extremely vindictive toward anyone who disagrees with them, as I’ve experienced myself.

      As for the ‘bullying’ by the person who has been the subject of this anonymous letter, that’s just nonsense – challenging people to prove or even evidence their claims is not bullying – nor does it put the onus of any proof on the challenger.

      I fear you’re right about sensible talks, but wrong about the reason. Certain people have no intention of giving up the limelight even if it means continuing to feed ammunition to those who hate the NHS including Stafford hospital. In all seriousness, I suspect a form of Munchhausens.

      I suspect you and I are not that much at odds with each other, in reality. However, I won’t sit by and watch a vicious attack on someone simply for daring to voice disagreement with a group – especially when the topic of the attack has absolutely zero to do with this person’s argument or qualification to make it.

  8. I don’t go in for the ego / limelight argument, I think that’s a lazy statement and in many ways a cheap shot, but only knowing one member by proxy, i.e. through my wife, I can’t comment further with any degree of authority or knowledge. At best it’s an opinion, at worst a falsehood and mudslinging.

    I don’t regard Cure as a weapon, perhaps a patsy for those with different motives but I feel their cause a just one, hijacked wholly by media and government forces.

    We’ll agree to disagree on Cure’s vindictive nature, as I think that’s a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other in most cases, but of course neither party will view it as such, due to deeply held beliefs that are unshakable.

    If true then it was an unnecessary attack, but I sincerely have my doubts. The Tweeter has always claimed Cure are in cahoots with the media, if true a far more powerful attack (but no less unnecessary) would have been to engage the press, I would imagine a struck-off doctor with a criminal past of that nature, and engaged in a hate campaign would appeal to the rags. It potentially disproves that Cure has that influence with the media.

    I believe in fairness, I find bullying abhorrent in all forms. I agree the past criminality has zero to do with the issue, but when you bully people and engage in dirty tactics then you should expect some reaction, and you shouldn’t be surprised if those tactics are equally as dirty, or even more dirty.

    Disagreement is fine, it’s the accusations that take it further than normal debate and makes it very personal that I see as the problem. I don’t think said Tweeter is doing anything that benefits people in Stafford, other than driving a divisive wedge, rather than bringing people together for a common goal.

    It’s an incredible story if we think rationally about it. A bunch of bereaved relatives turn into a secretive freemason-like organisation hell bent on closing Mid-Staffs on behalf of the Tory establishment, who weren’t in power when Cure started. It would have required a very long game to get to the suggested outcome.

    I think we all want a hospital at Mid-Staffs with the right level of services, well funded, well run, and run with priority to patient care. Not all outcomes in hospitals are good, mistakes are made. We must learn from those mistakes, not be scared by them and certainly not hide them. I think the NHS needs to reform culturally and have an open culture that welcomes praise as well as complaint. Complaints are actually more important than praise, you learn little from doing the right things right, you learn a huge amount from mistakes, or you should do.

    I fear the NHS is a closed-shop, where dissent and openness are not welcome. If we have any public organisation that does this then we all suffer, or at very least remain suspicious of a service there for us, of us, and paid for by us.

    1. A few questions or comments:

      1) Please provide some evidence to support the accusation of bullying – specific tweets and why they are bullying. Since you admit the other issues are irrelevant, then when you’re unable to show any bullying (as you will be, since there’s been plenty of disagreement but no bullying), I assume you’ll be eager to make a full apology. Please note that I’d like actual evidence of bullying – not a claim or accusation of it by a Cure supporter, since I know from experience that they make accusations freely, without any support in reality.

      2) I came to the Stafford issue assuming that what I’d heard about death rates was correct (since surely it must be if everyone is saying it), and with no opinion whatever on Cure or Julie Bailey. My current opinion grew out of an investigation into the facts.

      3) No one – and certainly not me – has accused Cure of being some ‘masonic’ organisation aiming to close down Stafford, although without question Julie has called for the closure of the hospital and the sacking of all its staff. My opinion is that a bunch of bereaved and probably disturbed people found the attention they received intoxicating and, eventually, addictive. They have therefore taken whatever steps they can to prolong that attention and to cut off any threat to its prolonging.

      4) Did you hear Julie Bailey’s contribution to Radio 4’s programme, ‘The Long View’? Remarkably without challenge or question by the interviewer, she stated that when she was with her mother in hospital, she heard people fall in adjacent rooms and – rather than calling for help or going to offer help herself – she sat with her mother listening to the fallen people crying out for help. Until they went silent.

      This may, of course, never have happened. But either it’s an example of exaggeration in the quest for continued attention – or else JB is a person capable of sitting and ignoring the suffering of others and yet harshly criticising overworked staff when they can’t provide assistance. This admission came from her own lips, and I am not making it up – no matter how outrageous it sounds. The programme can still be downloaded as a podcast if you wish to listen to it.

      The reality behind a projected persona is often very different from the projection.

      1. Point 1: I will come back to you on that. The Individual is a prolific Tweeter and it will require some time to provide this, but it’s there.

        Point 2: I don’t doubt the death rates as dubious and I’ve been clear on this point. I do doubt your assertion that there “may have been one”. If one of the systems used to red-flag high mortality is not fit for purpose, and never designed for the purpose it was used for, then logic dictates it can’t be used to prove things were OK. It’s simply not a tool that provides anything more than guidance, with appropriate caveats and caution required.

        Point 3: the “in cahoots” with media, with government is a common theme. Your Tweeter friend asserts this often. I will provide proof.

        Point 4: it is not the role of patients or indeed the public to provide assistance to fellow patients in hospital. If it is then clearly care is a major issue, which is surely the point. Trained professionals should not allow this to happen, no matter how busy or overworked they may be. If this happened then its the hospitals
        responsibility. This is simply an attack on the humanity of Julie Bailey, the question surely should be “where were the staff?” I’d like to think I would help, but it doesn’t mean it’s my responsibility to do so and if I didn’t criticism of me and not the staff would be unfair.

        I agree with your projected persona statement. Your Tweeter may be a thoroughly decent chap, but his past raises a credibility question it is impossible to ignore. Attacking Julie Bailey for not helping a patient is trivial compared to the conviction and past behaviour of your tweeter friend, but you’re happy to assassinate her character without ever questioning his, or his motives, which he is unwilling to state. Again, the tweeter has a history of bullying and harassment. I’ll send you the details if you provide an email address, as I have no desire to name him on this public forum. We are talking about more than his criminal past here, with evidence of previous bullying easy to find.

        This cuts to the chase in my opinion. I like your blogs, usually well thought out and backed up with evidence, evidence that is sometimes questionable but at least backed up. Your Tweeter friend only refers to your evidence as evidence, which is flattering I’d imagine but with the greatest of respect somewhat limiting in building a wider view.

      2. Point 2: the ‘maybe one death’ point is drawn from the independent clinical case-note review of all the questionable deaths at the hospital, and a case-note review is designed exactly for the purpose of ascertaining whether anything could have been done differently to prevent a death. The conclusion of the doctor who ran the review was that there was ‘perhaps one’.

        Point 3: I can well believe he has said that JB has been exploited by the media, or that she herself has exploited them. I have no doubt that both are true. ‘In cahoots’ I’m less certain about, but if so it’s a sensible enough opinion and up to the other side to refute if it can. Let’s see whether you find anything among your evidence to show he said it, though.

        Point 4: What nonsense. To sit and listen to someone crying out for help – probably for hours, since that’s how long it would take someone to give up – and not just once, but repeatedly according to her own words. I don’t care why you’re in the hospital – if you’re physically capable of helping, you have an obligation to do something, even if it’s just to go and find a nurse who’s busy elsewhere and draw her attention to it. A fall is a serious reportable incident in a hospital and nurses would be there in moments.

        For JB to have sat and listened suggests either that there is indeed something wrong with her mind or humanity – or that she’s making it up. Either should completely render her useless as a source of information about what really happened.

        Which is precisely not the case about the other person. My electrician might be a wifebeater for all I know – it doesn’t disqualify his opinion about the wiring in my house. A criminal past in a completely unrelated area has no bearing on someone’s ability to see whether stats are wrong, or an argument is illogical, or a claim is overblown and motivated by attention-seeking.

        If you can’t see the logic of both, then emotion – or something – is blocking your ability to see reason: the letter to the university was a vile action, and leaving people in pain and crisis in the next room, more than once, completely disqualifies anyone from criticising the care and compassion of others.

  9. As has happened on this blog site previously – a fair amount of agreement has broken out following frank discussion. What can’t be disputed is that the population of Mid Staffs want a solid DGH that delivers all the services that would be reasonable to expect for this population in this land area, containing sufficient, properly trained and graded professional and other staff – and that can refer patients on to specialised units in other hospitals as appropriate to their problem(s). They need acute services locally because that is a safe and effective arrangement when you are ill (and especially if you don’t know why). This is not a difficult thing to understand, nor in my view to provide.
    The government and it’s highly paid consultants are engaged in a process that is deliberately obscure, using language that the general public either don’t understand or consider nonsense.
    Whilst Cure-the NHS can’t close a hospital, I agree that they can be used in pursuit of that if the men in suits so chose.
    If Cure believe in what I have said in this piece (and I think they do if they reflect on it) – it is surely time to make it abundantly plain, and publicly, to Mr Cameron, Mr Hunt, Mr Francis and the Media that with such a huge improvement in Stafford Hospital, victory is theirs (here, though not necessarily in the whole of the NHS) AND that they did not intend their campaign to result in the closure of all acute services in Mid Staffs. That is NOT going to be a quality improvement for this population and would totally undo everything they have achieved.

  10. I couldn’t agree more. The reality is exactly as you state and working together this should be the message sent, received, understood and championed. Until the online bickering stops however I can’t see this being achievable, which is the biggest crime against staff, the hospital and the people of Stafford Borough. Unfortunately there are people that aren’t impacted by any of this that have the loudest voices. Stafford is not a political football. It’s a great town, with real people and real lives, not dots on a screen.

    Maybe time to put the football down and work together, united, for a brighter future.

  11. More agreement (hooray!)
    This has been a very difficult time for Stafford; as you say the town and the area are so much more than the hospital (eg some of the arts activities for children have won awards!) BUT as the population has made abundantly plain in recent weeks (now feeling they have permission to say so) – they view acute care provision in their hospital(s) as very important. If they were given the chance to pay for it and send the TSA packing they certainly would do that.
    “Support Stafford Hospital” have done and are continuing to do a very good job of representing this (the local press are a bit behind the curve and the national press have not yet got it).
    The hard part of my message, and I appreciate how hard it is but, nonetheless, I will re-iterate it, is that Cure-the-NHS now have a very difficult decision to make. They can’t join SSH – that would be unrealistic. But they can, potentially, do a lot more good for the healthcare of the local people than they are currently doing. They can publicly make the statements I have suggested. However, in order to do that, they have to cross some lines that so far they seem not to have done.
    Firstly to accept that even in good hospitals, occasional bad things will happen – and, of course, when they do and they were avoidable (which many aren’t because of the nature of the illness), that they need to be openly addressed, everything possible done to make it up to the patient and lessons learnt by the hospital, and if necessary by the NHS as a whole.
    Secondly to accept that Stafford Hospital has improved it’s care on the ground immeasurably despite all the pressures and that the staff (described by the TSA as the most driven workforce he has ever come across) will now never be satisfied (and that’s how it should be). The battle, if it was for better standards of care in Stafford/Cannock hospitals, has certainly been won but that does not mean it will ever be perfect – though the staff will strive to get as close as they can.
    Thirdly that access to and local availability of care, is part of the equation of the provision of good care. To make people travel further than they need to for good care, or any care, will discriminate against the elderly and poor – and there is evidence that distance, in itself, will increase mortality and disability. The issue of overall standards of care may well be a live one in other parts of the country (leave aside why that might be, in any given locality) but the live issue in Mid Staffs is the provision of acute care at all.
    Cure-the-NHS need to find it in their hearts, and find it in their hearts in the next few weeks, to cross these lines. If they can, they have the opportunity to be not only remembered for their role in pointing out that care on the ground is not always to the standard ordinary people have a right to expect but a role in making sure that good care is actually available where it is needed.

    1. I agree to a point. The point being its all on Cure I disagree with. That is unworkable, it needs to come from both extremes of the argument, it’s compromise that’s needed, as is always needed in any disagreement. Don’t disagree with any other point though, all valid and all correct as I see it.

      1. Thanks.
        The staff of the hospital are doing their utmost to continue to provide increasingly good care under very difficult circumstances – what more can they do? The reason Cure need to move over the lines is because they have the ear of the national and local media – whereas SSH don’t (yet). I don’t see SSH as being on the other side of the argument – they just want their really pretty good services retained not burnt to the ground.

  12. Steve, on point 4 you miss my point completely. As you point out a fall is a serious issue in hospitals, so we’re left with two clear conclusions:-

    1. JB lied about this incident.
    2. JB should have acted.
    3. It happened on staff didnt respond how we’d expect.

    At no point does that place any responsibility on those that had a legal responsibility for the patient. How do you know the personal situation of JB at that point? Your “hours” statement is pure guesswork, utterly pointless as a suggestion. She may have been incapable of getting the required help, what about other visitors, other patients? You have no proof or evidence to make the assertion you make, but make it anyway.

    I think the burden of proof lies with you, not JB. You’re accusing her of either lying or being a bad person. Both are allegations that require proof from you, not opinion, not guesswork.

    I’ve never suggested your Tweeter friend has no right to an opinion, neither would I, of course he has. I have also confirmed that I dont agree with the action someone has allegedly taken againgst him. I do however feel that making the jump that it was Cure, or a Cure sympathiser, is a dangerous jump. Given the nature of his past I would imagine some people would feel somewhat revolted by his crimes and behaviour, and may take this action, it could have as easily been a fellow student at the Uni that feels uneasy around him. It’s also clear that the individual has upset people far and wide, some of whom may have done this out of revenge. Cure is not the only group, or people he’s bullied or harassed, Google his name for evidence, it’s not hard to find.

    Your analogy about your electrician is nonsense, if you knew he had a bad/criminal reputation for past deeds, I suspect strongly you wouldn’t invite him to appraise the wiring for your house in the first place, no matter how valid his professional opinion. I find it somewhat disgraceful that this “electrician” has a clear pattern of abuse, has had for many years, but still he gets more respect from you, than a group of people that I assume have no such members. This is an assumption on my part, but I doubt we’d have not see this used against them, given other dirty tactics deployed.

    As I said at the start, I understand both sides of the argument. You seek to discredit Cure wherever possible, this blog piece as a prime example. I would suggest your clear intelligence, investigative rigour and passion could be used to far better purposes than attacks on a bereaved bunch of Stafford folk. Be part of the solution, I’m sure Stafford could use your skills. At present it’s pot-shots at dissenters, or those at Cure. Ask yourself if you’re helping or hindering?

    I live in Stafford, work in Stafford, love Stafford. My roots and family are here, some of whom work at the DGH. They have their own stories to tell, both past and present, good and bad. Cure and others should come together, work together and find solutions.

    I could just as easy say your blogging is driven by your ego. I will not however as I don’t know you but it would be just as cheap, just as pointless, just as meaningless as your assertion of ego-driven agendas.

    1. Stafford has access to my skills, such as they are. My electrician’s past would only affect my decision to use his services if it was relevant to that decision.

      Your claim about persistent abuse appears to be entirely incorrect from everything I can see.

      The proof of the ‘fall’ events, and the idea that the crying for help that JB ignored was prolonged, are based entirely on her own words. Listen to the interview and you’ll know exactly what I mean. I haven’t said she had any legal obligation to act, but she most certainly had a moral one – as would anyone in those circumstances. I don’t care what else was going on – it takes two minutes to alert a nurse, instead of leaving someone hurt and possibly dying. You don’t even have to leave your relative’s room – just stand in the doorway and scream and refuse to stop screaming until someone hears and comes.

      You don’t get to ignore someone like that and then take the high road to criticise a lack of compassion in others, not in any sensible view. Especially when by your own admission you did so on more than one occasion.

      If that happened as she claimed, she’s not the benevolent person she claims to be, nor does she have any right to criticise overworked nurses for care ‘failings’.

      If it didn’t, then she has demonstrated a readiness to be untruthful for effect. Either disqualifies her as a credible source of information. Unlike the victim of the blackmail letter, her past actions are entirely relevant to the views she propagates and the position she wishes to occupy.

      1. We will have to leave it there, we disagree as at no point do you feel that it wasn’t the nurses responsibility to know that a serious incident has happened. They had legal, professional and moral obligations to act, which if true they failed at. I’ve heard screams at the hospital that I’ve not heard elsewhere, I never investigated, or thought I should. I place my trust in the staff, that is what they’re there for.

        You paint JB as uncaring, or lying, these are opinions based on what you’d do, not evidence based claims.

        Lets leave it here. As mentioned you could put your talents to positive use, but instead you choose to attack. You do little for social harmony in Stafford, but it doesn’t matter as you don’t live here, you will not have to live with the consequences of your actions. You’re no better than those you attack, just at the other end of the spectrum. It’s those of in the middle that will lose if we can’t unite. Cure could be very powerful for all in Stafford. Your actions prevent that, but you don’t see that or reflect on that, perhaps you should.

        You have shown no evidence to back up your original blog. I sincerely look forward to seeing some in future but will not hold my breath.

      2. You haven’t read carefully enough. I haven’t said the nurses weren’t responsible – though that is mitigated by the massive overstretch they were struggling to cope with. But JB’s interview is very specific – she knew people had fallen out of bed, she knew they were suffering, and she knew no one was coming or knew they needed to come. And she did… nothing. Listen to the programme and you’ll see I’m not distorting anything. My conclusion is entirely based on evidence – evidence from JB’s own lips.

        As for the rest, you’re entitled to your opinion – even though it’s wrong.

  13. NHS worker, sorry you misunderstand me. I don’t think this is as simple as NHS workers, SSH and Cure. Many more people involved in setting groups against each other, that was the point re: Cure. I agree they could do more, but so could others, it’s the only way to make progress.

    Strikes me a good use of this blog would be to call for solidarity, and appeal for a get together of some kind. No politics, no agenda, just a forum to get stuff done and work together. Perhaps a positive Twitter campaign to join it up, perhaps a Facebook group where personal attacks are disregarded, unwelcome.

    PS. Can’t reply in thread as for some reason the reply button isn’t visible.

    1. I don’t see any realistic hope of Cure and Julie Bailey deciding to recant certain stances and joining the general fight for the future of the hospital. Cure are a major part of the false narrative the government is currently using to target more than one in three English hospitals for closure. Since Cure appears intractable, the only alternative is to draw attention to the reality of what they claim and how they operate.

      Then people have a chance of seeing that the spinning-off of Stafford into an assault on 50 hospitals is a house of cards constructed by those who hate the NHS on principle. It’s a pity, but it’s a far lesser evil than saying nothing while they spout anything they want unchallenged and undermine the most valuable institution we have as a country.

      Cure claims to be the solution to what ails the NHS. In fact they’ve become – wittingly or no – a major part of the problem.

      1. Have you even tried to engage on a positive level with Cure? Why would they engage when you attack them? I get it, it’s easier to attack than to resolve, but it’s worth a try surely if you care so deeply for Stafford DGH and the NHS.

        As a Christian isn’t it a responsibility of your beliefs to find forgiveness, seek forgiveness
        and unite?

      2. Any hope of that evaporated when I published the analysis of the statistics. The assault from Cure’s supporters started that day with ‘How dare you disrespect our dead’ and has gone downhill from there.

        I don’t hold the attack against Cure, which is the only personal thing I might have against them. The rest is about righting a wrong – and trying to prevent worse ones. That’s my Christian (and human) duty and if it means calling a spade a spade, then that’s the job.

  14. If there are disparate groups then if they want to help keep acute services locally (here and elsewhere in the UK) then they need to all accept the general points I’ve made and let the powers that be know their opinion. The reason Cure may be important here is that they have a profile and access to the mainstream media that others don’t. That may not be fair or representative but that’s the way it is. Consequently their potential contribution is proportionately critical, even if they find it harder for various historical reasons. Collaboration is important and happening but they are in an unusual position – and can make a difference by coming off the fence. Remember that Stafford has been picked out as a test case of can fairly decent sized hospitals be closed or downgraded. I may have misunderstood but the concept that those with the loudest voices often have the least personal interest – I take that to mean that the decisions are being made by Mr Hunt (London), The TSA and crew (London) and the CCGs (local but big salaries and little experience of being old or poor). And it couldn’t be more true in this case.

  15. Whilst there are several strands to the strings above (if you get what I mean, on account of replies to the blog or replies to the replies!) – could I put this scenario to you.
    The Francis2 report comes out. The press are all over Julie Bailey and Cure-the-NHS (not surprisingly given the circumstances). She and cure say:
    “We are delighted that the issue of poor care in the NHS has been given such a thorough airing. We hope that the government will take on board the issues that relate to them, including minimum staffing levels, especially in elderly care and acute hospital wards – and that the tariffs will reflect that.
    We have been into Stafford Hospital in recent months and seen what a phenomenal improvement there has been – indeed other hospitals are visiting to get ideas. We hope and expect that this hospital will be left alone to continue this improvement and provide an example to the rest of the NHS as to how this can be achieved, rather than be downgraded. This is an opportunity for learning in the NHS that must not be missed”.
    Much of what is going on is political (forget financial and clinical sustainability blah blah, it’s just hot air). This (albeit fantasy) response from Cure would have made the government’s job in it’s intention to close and/or privatise much of the NHS (and thereby wash their hands of it) very much harder than it is at present.
    I rest my case.

    1. I truly believe, rightly or wrongly, that nothing Cure could say would make the governments job any easier or harder. Governments have a poor record of listening to the people, 1.5m marched against the second war in Iraq and we still sent our troops to war.

      I think we’re in danger of giving Cure an elevated influence. I don’t think better PR for Cure would alter the Tories ideological view of privatisation within the NHS.

      I may be wrong but I just don’t see it. I think your notion is an admirable one, but overstates the benefit and influence a different statement would have made. I think the only difference would be a better feeling toward Cure from people.

      1. It’s about politics. The government would want to close hospitals even if Cure had never existed. However, they would have paid a clear and high political price for it. Cure allows them to paint the NHS as having – as someone put it this morning on Twitter – a ‘toxic culture’, which is simply nonsense (the NHS had its highest approval ratings ever until this government took over, and the government-imposed overstretch is spreading poor care while the govt blames anything but the real causes) but which affords them an opportunity to portray themselves as doing something very different to what they’re really doing.

        Cure could put that right very effectively, if they chose. Instead, they accuse critics of being motivated by purely political considerations and even of being paid by Labour to defuse their supposedly righteous indignation.

        None of which has any basis in reality, but Cure has to bear responsibility for wilfully siding with the enemies of the NHS.

      1. If that’s not the objective then what is? Please be specific, I’m asking your opinion based on facts and facts only. What facts lead you to believe that CTNHS aren’t after that, not JB, but CTNHS as a group.

      2. The public call for the closure of the hospital and the sacking of its staff – with which I confronted Cure members, who did not deny it.

        The constant statements stoking the ‘toxic culture’ myth, which any idiot can see is aimed at undermining the foundations of public confidence in, and affection for, the NHS.

        The ruthless and reckless hunting of heads who had little or nothing to do with events at Stafford – and the similarly ruthless and reckless campaigns against those who oppose or criticise, including putting personal phone numbers on their ‘wall of shame’ until forced to take them down by threat of legal action. Putting those kind of details on that wall can only be to invite nuisance or threat against those individuals.

        That’s just off the top of my head.

      3. Oh, and of course the constant insistence on, and repetition of, the 1200 deaths myth and the applauding of those who’ve promoted it to attack other hospitals.

  16. If Stafford DGH is a safe, well-run, patients-first hospital then I object to anyone calling for it to be closed in entirety. I think this is hyperbole on both sides so, I believe Cure no more want the hospital shut than it can be used to attack them. I don’t doubt they’ve said it, but the context in which it was said is key.

    There is a culture of silence in the NHS, with the huge amount of WBs across the nation confirming this. I also have family at Stafford Hospital so know their views, some great, some not so. If the NHS is to maintain trust then honesty around mistakes, and those that raise the concerns are key. I don’t think speaking the truth about cultures of silence is a bad thing, it should be welcomed. If that is used by others then so be it, but silence is not golden.

    People that earn six figure salaries in Public Service are accountable and should be. Who do you think has been targeted that shouldn’t have been? Very few have been held personally accountable for clear failings in basic human care, rights and compassion.

    Given this blog I’m amazed you claim that “name and shame” is inappropriate. All you claim, minus telephone numbers, is contained within this blog. Hypocritical to say the least. An eye for an eye?

    The death rates are dubious so I agree the continued use is negative, particularly as the hospital has improved greatly. I think we need to ensure we don’t
    become similar to holocaust deniers here though, and become blinded to the wider problem. Even if zero deaths occurred through negligent care, the standard of care was shocking. Yes short-staffing is a variable, but can’t be used as a valid excuse, contributing factor yes, excuse no.

  17. You dont think his conviction is relevant to his research? Id be amazed if a university with a full knowledge of his background sanctioned his studies.

      1. Well Ive talked to 6 people about it (none of them from CTNHS you will be pleased to know) and all of them think he should not be studying in that field. I suspect they hold the majority view on this and the University has some questions to answer about how this has been allowed to happen.

      2. True…the majority is not always right, but you would be foolish to discount the wisdom of crowds. His Uni were aware you say…really?! How do you know this? I presume he told you just as he told you about the letter…which I doubt you have seen. I can think of a couple of very important ways in which his conviction is relevant to his research. Cant you?

      3. It might be relevant – that can just as easily be a point in favour as against. I’ve contacted the uni – the letter exists. To suggest otherwise always smacked a little of grasping at straws.

    1. If the Uni told you that then they have broken the law and contravened thier own policies. Ill ask you explicitly. Have you seen the letter and its contents? What is your evidence that the University was aware of this students convictions prior to admitting him?

      1. I’ve spoken to the university about the letter, with the permission of its victim. The letter exists. I expect to have a copy shortly, but its existence and nature is not in doubt. The university’s awareness was related to me by the victim and backed up by the uni’s lack of any action against him, but that’s irrelevant compared to the fact of the letter, which you keep trying to challenge.

    2. So….you have written the above post based on the say-so of a serious criminal offender of a type which are know to be lying, manipulative and controlling. You have not seen any letter, or even a copy of its contents. You have also accepted this man’s word that the University was aware of his conviction prior to admitting him. By any standard of proof that looks fairly lame to me. I dont know why you think I “keep trying to challenge” whether there is a letter (although from what you’ve revealed in the comment s above I am becoming mildly agnostic about that). Perhaps I am not able to be clear enough. Let me reiterate. I am challenging whether you have seen a letter. You have not . To be honest I am more interested in the appropriateness of this man to study in the field he is engaged in. This is where I and other people think the University needs to answer some questions.

      1. The letter exists, and the contents were not disputed by the university when I contacted them. I’m more interested in the mentality of a person or group who would resort to an anonymous blackmail letter to silence an inconvenient voice. As anyone should be. I am not claiming to have seen the letter – yet. I am saying that its existence and contents are not disputed by the institution that has it.

      2. Oh dear. Censored…..last reply too close to the bone . I was expecting at least an attempt to reply. Maybe its not a serious enough concern for you.

      3. Do I *really* have to ask you to give an explanation for censoring me? Its not apparent why you did…if you did. Or was it a glitch? I can repeat my questions and points if you missed them. 🙂

      4. Repeated? Im pretty sure it was the first time I mentioned everything in that comment. This is really pretty poor to be honest. If you dont like something someone says here to the point where you censor them you need to give a good reason. Thats just basic manners.

        I assume you dont like your friends past being bought up. Well you have said on an open forum that his conviction is not relevant to his studies. I gave you a good reason why that is not so. You can describe that as inciting hate if you want according to your moderating policy. You would be wrong. Youll win every argument you get into if you delete your opponents rebuttals. You also conveniently failed to answer all my questions about this letter.

        Is the irony of your methods totally lost on you?

      5. You were repeating what others have also said here. I’m not remotely apologetic about that. Discuss general principles by all means – but that wouldn’t suit your apparently mischievous motivation, one that fits very well with your chosen pseudonym.

        I’d actually typed out an answer to your question, but would have had to leave your other comments standing in order to post it. So I decided it wasn’t worth it – and I don’t owe you an explanation, frankly. All will become clear about the letter in good time – and that’s my decision, on this blog, not yours.

      6. Of course. You dont owe anyone an answer. Say whatever you want. You have no need to defend your position. How utterly immature.

      7. And here another question I doubt youve considered. How exactly would you expect CTNHS to prove they didn’t write this letter? This whole post smears them and gives them no opportunity to respond with evidence if they did not do it.

  18. No Steve…thats a *specific* question. How can they prove thier innocence? Here is a *specific* answer. They cant. You have slurred them. Admit it. ” They do it worse than me” is the argument of s 12year old… an immature one.

    1. I ammended my comment to be more general to save you the embarrassment of being open about what you are defending. Did you actually read it? Delete away Thats even easier that having to type that you dont owe me an answer.

      1. Hey I asked some questions. You didnt answer. Ive seen people do it to you enough times when they didn’t answer you.. Just have the decency to admit when you are wrong and stop letting your ego get the better of you.

      2. I don’t have time for everything that’s important, let alone engaging with people who are just trolling. If that’s not you, then my apologies. But I’m not interested in publishing damaging information about victims.

  19. Look. I’m not trollling or indulging in purient or self righteous finger pointing. There is no way this guy should be doing this work. Ive given one very good reason and there is at least one more. Im not going to spell it out again if you are just going to keep deleting it. You know what I have said. He is not named and the information is completely pertinent to the point I make. This is not about him really. It is about the University’s safeguarding failure.

    My other point is about this post. If it makes you more comfortable (although it is totally irrelevant) I think you are right about hmsr and there have been instances where CTNHS have been used to attack the NHS unfairly. But with this post you have adopted the tactics of those you oppose. You have boasted about researching your work meticulously. This post is hear-say from a questionable source and you should have been much more careful about the way you dealt with this matter. If you think there was something in what he said you should have waited to see the evidence for yourself. You have trusted his word because he has supported and argued for your arguments. That was a mistake. We all make mistakes and its hard to admit them when we do. Harder for some than others.

    You have not allowed CTNHS any opportunity to prove their innocence because you have presented no evidence of guilt. That is the truth and it was the wrong thing to do. Much of your work is about revealing the truth and I applaud your efforts but you should apologize for what you have done here. It doesn’t mean CTNHS win. You should pick them up where they are wrong. Thats the right thing to do. Apologizing about this is the right thing to do too.

    1. Thank you for a clear and reasonable statement. I don’t consider the source questionable, and my post was crafted, carefully, to be very clear about the extent of the evidence etc. When I have more, more will follow.

      CTNHS doesn’t need to prove its innocence – yet – since I haven’t accused it of being the source of the letter – yet. That may change as more evidence emerges – but there’s really no realistic doubt that a supporter of CTNHS was the source, and sending such a letter would be perfectly consistent with my experience of Cure’s tactics so far. None of which is proof, of course – but then my article led with that so it couldn’t really be clearer.

  20. I’m sorry Steve but that is just not good enough. You have not answered a single question I’ve put to you about your defense of this mans legitimacy to work in his field of study.

    Your willingness to accept this mans word has a big question mark over it. He is a proven liar and is an offender of a type which are known to lie and manipulate and be controlling. Has he gone to the police yet? I suspect not. Has he shown you this letter (now weeks after it was sent?) I doubt it.

    You say CTNHS doesnt need to prove its innocence and yet the questioning title of this post very very clearly smears them and allows them no way of answering satisfactorily. Your line of reasoning (which is weak) makes it completely clear what you think and anyone with a knowledge of your history with CTNHS would be crystal clear about who you believe wrote that letter and that you are encouraging everyone to join you. You can cite the qualifications you have made to this story. They are not nearly enough. You are utterly in the wrong on this and as someone who openly proclaims their faith (which I share) your behavior has been extremely unfortunate in its representation. Jesus would not have indulged in this and you dont have to be a Christian to know that you shouldn’t either.

    1. We might differ on what Jesus would and wouldn’t have ‘indulged’ in (I’m thinking ‘whitewashed tombs’).

      My investigations into the matter are, necessarily, proceeding slowly and cautiously. But nothing I’ve seen so far conflicts with what I’ve been told or gives me any grounds for doubting it.

      And I’ve answered those of your questions that don’t require leaving statements in the blog comments that I don’t wish to be responsible for putting on show – even though I don’t consider myself answerable to you for how I reach my conclusions.

  21. Eh? What about whitewashed tombs? You think that verse justifies smearing people? You are wrong. We clearly do differ on what Jesus would have done.

    And what have you seen so far? Nothing, or you would have said, The only thing that matters is that letter (if it exists) and what it contains. If you havent seen it by now Id be surprised if you were going to.

    You say “I’ve answered those of your questions that don’t require leaving statements in the blog comments that I don’t wish to be responsible for putting on show”. Well it seems there is quite a lot you dont want to be responsible for and this answer leaves a lot of scope for you to not really answer anything.

    You have most certainly NOT answered my questions. At various times I have asked.

    1) “Did you ask the university about the existence of this letter and not get a direct reply? (An indication that you have had positive verbal or written confirmation of its existence and are not just inferring its existence from a failure to answer a question about it)

    2) Who exactly did you speak to at the university? (Evidence that someone could be called on to confirm if need be that you had been given the information you claim)

    3) I indirectly asked why you thought the university was prepared to discuss apparent police evidence with a relatively unknown third party from the media from the media prior to submitting it to the police.

    4) Has the student gone to the police yet? (A sign that the claim this was a criminal matter was credible).

    Yet again you say you are not answerable to me. Again I would say you are right but if you are going to make claims, in public on an open forum such as this then you are sinking to the school ground debating tactics of a 12 year old and are claiming a privilege that those you fight use to such great effect and for which they are so rightly condemned.

    1. 1) “Did you ask the university about the existence of this letter and not get a direct reply? (An indication that you have had positive verbal or written confirmation of its existence and are not just inferring its existence from a failure to answer a question about it)

      I have made direct contact with a responsible person at the university, who has acknowledged the letter’s existence. While the issue of the release of a copy is under ongoing discussion, the material contents of the letter are not disputed.

      2) Who exactly did you speak to at the university? (Evidence that someone could be called on to confirm if need be that you had been given the information you claim)

      This can be provided if it ever becomes necessary, but I’m not going to volunteer that now and open that person up to pressure from Cure that would undoubtedly follow. I don’t consider myself a reporter, but a report merely needs to know he has a solid source, not to reveal it to anyone who asks.

      3) I indirectly asked why you thought the university was prepared to discuss apparent police evidence with a relatively unknown third party from the media from the media prior to submitting it to the police.

      The Freedom of Information Act is a flawed but still wonderful thing.

      4) Has the student gone to the police yet? (A sign that the claim this was a criminal matter was credible).

      No comment, since that would potentially be useful information to whoever sent the letter.

  22. You know Steve, one of the things that infuriates me about politicians of every hue is their almost total unwillingness to admit when they are wrong. They probably just feel they cant given the unusual pressure they have to face but I don’t doubt that alot of them actually think that to do so would be weak and enjoy the game of the whole thing. It is pathetic and very damaging for the way that our society and its politics functions. Please dont be like them. You are not a politician. you can be better than that

    1. If I had cause to apologise, I would probably do so. I don’t – and I’m curious about why you’re so interested in pushing for it. It makes your apparent solicitousness ring hollow.

      1. Are you kidding? It is as plain as day youve done something wrong.

  23. Sorry Steve, I’ve been away with work and therefore unable to continue the debate.

    Would it not be prejudicial to any potential criminal legal case to reproduce the letter? So getting a copy may be fanciful. I’m not a legal expert, but this would seem to be common-sense, which is after-all the guiding concept of law in this country.

    This for me is the beauty of this obvious smear. You make an allegation, offer no actual proof, will probably be unable at any point to prove the letter exists, but nevertheless make a thinly veiled but direct claim that CTNHS are responsible. The only way this can ever be proven is in court.

    Freedom of Information does not cover this letter, and it’s the University being blackmailed, not your friend, so why would the Uni share this with you? You’re not working on their behalf after-all.

    It just doesn’t add up. I doubt the existence of the letter, I doubt your ability to produce it, or indeed that any proof exists, as I doubt it happened in the first instance. It would not be the first time one of your followers has been shown to lie, one has been outed in the last week.

    This is a lie and a smear, and until you can prove otherwise then Cure, or one of their supporters, are completely innocent and should be considered as such.

    You have an agenda, and the people you surround yourself with and support are proven liars, who to believe is an easy call.

    1. Doubt away, David. We’ll see what happens with the FOI, but the uni acknowledged the existence of the letter. The word ‘liar’ is bandied about very freely by Cure and its friends, generally based on assertion and assumption and against the evidence. I’m untroubled by the opinion of a group whose default response is to bully and abuse anyone who dares to disagree with it.

      1. There is only one group engaged in bullying, and one group defending itself against allegations made by Labour-supporting bloggers.

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