‘Hounded heroine’? The Cure the NHS myth

This won’t be an easy post to write, but recent events have persuaded me that it can’t be avoided. Some nasty stuff has been going on, and the only right response to bullies is to stand up to them.

Julie Bailey, the founder of ‘Cure the NHS’ (Cure), is treated as almost a saint by most of the media, who are currently portraying her as a poor, ‘hounded’ heroine who is being so viciously victimised by the people of Stafford who are outraged by her righteous campaign that she is being driven out of town, forced to leave in order to avoid supposed ‘threats’.

But the reality is somewhat different from its portrayal.

Those who follow this blog will know that I’ve had more than one run-in with Cure. Just in recent weeks, Cure supporters on Twitter (who have blocked me to try to prevent any response) have tried to smear me to prominent people commenting on articles that have nothing to do with ‘Cure’ or Stafford, and ‘accused’ me of writing Andy Burnham’s blog, as if that would be incriminating even if it were true.

Last week, my Twitter account was briefly suspended after what appears to have been a malicious complaint by a Cure supporter – who then appears to have done the same to someone else who ‘dared’ to tweet a comment defending me against one of his accusations, within minutes of the ‘pro-Steve’ comment being posted. Twitter do not reveal the source of complaints, so it’s impossible to say for sure – but the suspension of someone’s account minutes after defending me, just after my own account was suspended, seems unlikely to be mere coincidence.

The ‘Burnham blog’ comment is worth examining, and we’ll start with that because it’s the least depressing. Here are the tweets in question:

burnhamblog

and here are the people who retweeted it – including Julie Bailey:

burnhamblogRTs

The only problem is, it’s nonsense. The article to which the tweeter linked is not ‘Burnham’s blog’. It’s the blog of the ‘Think Left’ thinktank – and the linked article is an article of mine about possible tampering with Parliamentary records, which the site’s admin ‘reblogged’ and decided to archive in the section containing articles that mention Andy Burnham.

Either the tweeter (and retweeters) can’t read – or else they’re so deluded that they can only see what they want to see. Neither is a great characteristic in campaigners who expect to be regarded as agenda-setters for something as important as the NHS. But it gets darker.

Last weekend, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Clare Gerada, ‘retweeted’ a link to an article of mine about the distortion of statistics by the DWP – in other words, nothing to do with Cure, or Stafford, or even the NHS:

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The individuals above felt the need to try to blacken my name to Ms Gerada even though my article had nothing whatever to do with anything at Stafford. It’s up to Clare whether she decides to pay attention to these slurs or not, and I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself what to make of them – but to me at least it smacks of a certain desperation and cowardice to resort to such tactics without even including me in the message so that I’d know what was being said. But then, bullies usually are cowardly.

It’s not only Ms Bailey’s supporters who resort to such measures, sadly. Once again, Clare Gerada is involved – but this time she’s the target. Ms Gerada made the perfectly rational and reasonable observation that the only way to be sure whether a given death was avoidable is a careful, clinical review of the case notes:

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The comment was not addressed to Ms Bailey, nor was she mentioned in it. But she felt entitled not only to disagree with it, but to call it ‘distasteful’, as well as ‘out of touch’. Quite how calling a proper investigation the only way to decide on an issue can be ‘out of touch’ is puzzling – but to call such a measured comment distasteful is entirely typical of Cure’s histrionic and aggressive approach to any dissent.

All of this serves to paint a very different picture to that of the saintly, put-upon woman portrayed by the media – usually in articles that go on to bash the NHS rather than trying to ‘cure’ it. But this stuff is merely an irritant, at least to me – I’m sufficiently long in the tooth not to be overly troubled by it.

There is a far more shameful aspect to this ‘bullying culture’, though. A Stafford woman has been a target of Cure’s ire for presenting a very different and far more rational perspective on events at Mid Staffs via her blog. This lady also took the trouble to sit through almost every session of testimony to Robert Francis’ public inquiry. Privately and publicly, she speaks with understanding and even sympathy for Cure – but the mere fact of disagreeing with them has been enough to earn her their enmity.

In recent weeks, this enmity has been fanned into outright hatred by one simple development: the fact that my articles on Mid Staffs drew attention to one of her articles in which she stated, as a witness at the meeting, that Julie Bailey called for Cure to get the hospital closed and all its staff sacked.

Since the huge groundswell of support among the people of Stafford for their hospital, Ms Bailey has claimed that her efforts have only been to save the hospital – so the idea that she called for its closure in a clearly vengeful outburst is a significant embarrassment.

So the knives have been out, both among Cure’s supporters and by Ms Bailey herself. Considering her recent claims to have been ‘hounded’ out of Stafford by bullying and abuse, she seems extraordinarily ready to use similar tactics. Here are some examples from Twitter, either written by Ms Bailey directly, or else by her supporters (and often ‘retweeted’ by her):

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A particularly strident one from Gary Walker, the ‘whistleblower’ whose Twitter name has long caused me to wonder about his mindset, was retweeted by a number of Cure supporters in an attempt to spread the intimidation:

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The blog to which he links is a claim by someone who was at the fateful meeting – as an ally of Cure – that Ms Bailey made no such calls for the closure of the hospital. However, I can reveal that a number of witnesses who were there that night – as supporters of Cure – have contacted ‘mulberrybush’ to offer their testimony that Ms Bailey did indeed say exactly what was claimed.

A supporter supporting the person he supports, or previous adversaries supporting the ‘enemy’s version of events – which is more credible?

The supposed refutation of the claim also contains a serious misjudgement. It questions ‘mulberrybush’s recollection of events on the basis that the blog was written 3 years later. However, the blog was written from notes made on the night, while details were still vivid.

The ‘wall of shame’

Cure’s ‘wall of shame’ is well known, and has featured prominently in newspaper articles. The wall contains pictures of people whom Cure has targeted for campaigns for their removal for their supposed crimes in relation to Stafford hospital and Cure’s lost relatives. But it has also contained at least one person whose ‘crime’ was nothing more than to condemn Cure’s tactics in an online debate. The wall did not only contain his name, but also his personal contact details including his phone number.

Perhaps you can think of an innocent reason for this, but I haven’t thought of one yet. If you put someone’s personal number on a ‘wall of shame’, it invites – deliberately or recklessly – nuisance or threatening phone calls, which is just what happened. Cure refused to remove the personal details until forced to by the threat of legal action.

So, it appears that far from being the benign and well-meaning victims of bullying, Cure don’t like it when anyone contradicts them – and they are no strangers to using aggressive and even probably-libellous tactics to silence dissent.

The ‘hounding’ article and other nonsense

On 30 May, the ‘Coffee House’ of the Tory Spectator magazine carried an article under the ironic headline of “Julie Bailey: Enemy of the People“. Far from being an attack on Ms Bailey, the article was a concerted assault on the people of the town of Stafford, painting them as vicious bullies who have driven a poor, innocent woman from her home by their threats and intimidation.

The following day, I was contacted via my blog by someone closely linked to Ms Bailey. What this person, who pleaded with me to keep them anonymous because of the consequences if it became known who had contacted me, wrote was striking:

I have just read your whole article and feel like it was a blast of fresh air..and you have hit the nail on the head when you highlight the grief and emotional factors of this individual.

Only yesterday an article in the paper claims that she is being forced out of the area of where she has lived all her life? I am confused as I know with 100% certainty that she lived in South Wales for nearly 16 years where she worked..in social services and even ran a nursing home for some time? none of this has ever been in the press?? She also states to be forced out of the area, I know that she has been planning on moving to Dubai to be near her son following the birth of her grandchild for the last 18 months!

She also claims that she has had to sell her house? she has never owned a house since her divorce which was prior to the loss of her mother and finally on her own website, her relatives quoted in saying we miss Grandmother as used to spend every friday with her eating fish and chips? Again do not know how this was possible as Grandmother lived in Wales with them for 16 years!

Quite a list of discrepancies between the stories presented by the media (and by Ms Bailey on her own site) and the reality behind them, it seems.

An undiscerning eye

Another crucial aspect of the myth is the quite astonishing lack of critical thinking by interviewers and editors when interviewing Ms Bailey or relating her stories.

I’ve already written about her remarkable statements to a BBC Radio 4 programme, in which she claimed to have sat with her mother in hospital, listening to fallen, distressed patients in the next room – more than once – for so long that they eventually fell quiet. She related this scenario to point a finger at nursing staff and their supposed lack of compassion – but the interviewer completely failed to do his journalistic job and challenge how she could simply sit and let injured people cry for help until they went silent.

If you or I heard someone fall and cry out in distress, we wouldn’t sit and tut about the nurses’ slow response – we’d go to help ourselves, or go and find a nurse. Or, if we felt we simply couldn’t leave our relative alone for even a moment, we’d stand in the doorway and shout – and shout and shout – until someone heard, and came to help.

Her own words must at least raise the suspicion that either Ms Bailey lacks the very compassion whose supposed absence in others she so loudly decries, or else she was embellishing her story for effect. Either way, either her credibility or her sincerity are fatally wounded by words from her own lips.

There is another, similar incident that bears examination – this one in the Daily Mirror, which really should know better than to promote misleading information and play into the hands of those who want the NHS ended. Under a lurid headline, we see a typical ‘stoical but tortured’ picture of Ms Bailey:

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‘I’ve been spat at and threatened because I care’. Dramatic stuff. But do the details bear it out?

The article begins with a melodramatic statement:

It used to just be my mum’s voice I heard in my dreams,” says this pint-sized powerhouse who has taken on the NHS over the 1,200 deaths in Mid Staffs and kicked its inefficient ass into the public arena.

But now there are so many voices in my head, so many stories, they’ve all become confused.

But they’re always there, always driving me on, telling me I mustn’t let what happened to them happen to anyone else.

Let’s leave aside for the moment the question of whether the press should be promoting the views and wishes of a woman who, by her own admission, hears voices. A more key point comes next:

It’s been five years since Julie’s 86-year-old mum, Bella, died at Stafford Hospital.

And it was the terror in Bella’s eyes that last terrible night as she lay dying on a filthy ward ­begging for painkillers that never came, that Julie made a promise to herself.

She vowed that no more vulnerable people would die the way Bella had… without care and compassion in a place where they had every right to expect it and to feel safe.

Hang on. Julie Bailey was with her mother on the night of her death. She had to be, in order to see the ‘terror in Bella’s eyes’. Yet her mum begged ‘for painkillers that never came‘. What?!

I was with my mother as she died. Her care was very good, and her pain was well managed. But if she had been in pain and begging for painkillers, and nobody came to administer pain relief, it wouldn’t matter if I had to march out of the room and bring a nurse in an armlock – under no circumstances would my mother have lain until she died without receiving what she needed.

Yet nobody from the Mirror thought to query the claim or draw attention to its significance.

Radio 4, the Mirror, other media – all seem prepared to propagate obviously problematic statements by Cure and its founder without challenge, without even thought.

I bear Ms Bailey and Cure no personal ill-will. I sincerely believe that at least some of Cure’s supporters are mentally ill, and deserving of pity. I think that at least one of them is exhibiting Munchhausen’s – a syndrome whereby the afflicted person courts suffering, or the perception of it, in order to receive attention and to elicit a positive response from others.

But somebody has to be prepared to call attention to the obvious discrepancies between what is portrayed and what underlies it – and to Cure’s bullying tactics and the glaring problems with its claims regarding what happened at Stafford hospital.

I take no pleasure in it falling to me to do it. But that doesn’t relieve me of the obligation.

And if you try to access my Twitter feed and find that my account is suspended, you’ll have a good idea why.

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103 responses to “‘Hounded heroine’? The Cure the NHS myth

  1. I find this very worrying indeed. From my own nursing experience I know that grief can do strange things to people and when I’ve seen Julie Bailey on TV I’ve got the strong impression that she’s taken up this campaign to in some way deal with her own guilt – something we all feel when a close relative dies to some extent. A few years ago I worked at a CAB on a pilot scheme funded by the DoH to assist people with NHS complaints, called ICAS (Independent Complaints Advocacy Service). A number of my clients had lost close elderly relatives and wanted to complain about what they saw as a lack of care. These people were genuinely grieving and told horror stories that certainly suggested care may have been lacking. I had to investigate
    the complaints from an independent perspective and help them through the complaints procedure. On many occasions I found that the nursing records showed that their relatives had been assessed properly and given decent nursing care – and as an experienced nurse I think I would have picked up (and indeed sometimes did) evidence of poor nursing care. Of course, some might say the care record could have been faked to cover up mistakes. I find this idea a bit naive. In all cases where care was lacking the record was unusually scanty and showed failure to document things like an adequate care plan, fluid and food intake,urine output, observations of blood pressure etc. and no write up of any normal daily contact with the patient which nurses record so that oncoming shifts know what’s been done and what still needs doing.This kind of record was usually found alongside ward duty rosters that showed low staff numbers which coincided with the lack of care. Its highly unlikely that if nurses didn’t have time to care properly for all patients and record it that they’d have time to spend faking the record.

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  2. The “Cure the NHS” reactions to people like you and mulberrybush are, unfortunately, exactly the reactions one might expect to people with the courage and integrity to try and reason with a lynch mob. Of course, if the press were doing their job, you wouldn’t have to, because whatever Ms Bailey is – consumed by guilt, as sparaszczukster suggests, or just a narcissist who’s finally found a hobby horse to ride into the limelight – would have been realised, and she would have been sidelined, by now.

    At some point the press will turn on her; at some point, probably after the NHS is dead and gone and they have no further use for her, the Daily Mail will turn on her (and probably shamelessly rip off your research in the process) and she won’t know what’s hit her. But until then – well, I know this is probably redundant, but please keep doing what you’re doing; *someone* has to do what the press won’t. People should not be able to inflict their own damage on the rest of society unchecked.

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  3. Where to start? So in summary, Cure are bullies, liars and mentally ill? How very one-sided, disingenuous and hyperbolic.

    You have only ever sought to divide opinion on a good vs bad basis. No objectivity, although you probably think otherwise.

    This is just another example of your continued hate campaign against victims of PROVEN appalling care at the hands of the state, but you even question that quite clearly.

    You lack basic human compassion, which is trait we often see in in so-called Christians. The things the godly say never fail to amaze.

    You should feel ashamed, you’re an apologist for failure, and apologist for other apologists.

    It’s ironic you talk of Twitter censorship when you often delete posts on this blog that don’t fit your narrative. People have the right to block harassers and bullies, not to silence, but to not waste time and effort responding to ideological-based drivel.

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    • You’re wrong, David. I have never challenged the personal loss of Cure members. I challenge their version of events, sometimes – based on what they themselves have said.

      So, having a faith means standing by silently while people are bullied and victimised? That’s a new one on me. This has nothing to do with being an apologist for failure but with preventing excessive and unjust reactions.

      I’ve blocked people for posting information up here which would contribute to true ‘hounding’ of people, which is the very opposite of Cure’s tactics.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but nobody who knows me would consider me to lack compassion. It’s why I started this blog in the first place. But just because you empathise with someone’s loss, it doesn’t mean you have to stand by passively while they do their best to wreck the place.

      By all means, feel free not to ‘waste time and effort’ here.

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      • I feel compelled to waste time and effort, otherwise nobody would scrutinise your tactics.

        I love the “nobody that knows me response”, it’s a kin to racists that claim “I have black friends”

        I’ve not suggested having faith means remaining silent, clutching at a straw man there, what I have suggested is the Christian values you claim to have are not self-evident in your smear campaign. I campaign you claim is rooted in evidence and reason, but there is NO evidence, just your opinion that altogether conveniently can’t be proved/disproved one way or the other.

        Great claims without proof or evidence can be equally dismissed without proof or evidence.

        I choose to dismiss them based on the utter, unproven and unfounded drivel they are.

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      • Who else is supposed to know whether I have compassion, if not those who know me? Pathetic response.

        There is no ‘smear campaign’, David. Revealing ignored truth is not a smear. Dismiss away, but the examples given are mostly on the record for anyone to verify for themselves – and those that are not are well attested.

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    • Dave, why the violent reaction at the mere mention of a possible, though unproven, case of Twitter censorship? What’s so wrong with asking? Did he hit a raw nerve? Who knows, there could well be some media types working closely with Twitter to silence DCs critics. Of course there’s no proof. Why would anyone be so stupid as to leave their tracks behind? There might even be an organised network of ‘professional’ vandals on social media behind this – *shock, horror* – in case it never occurred to you! These things can and do happen. I’m not ruling out the possibility that everyone at the helm of these media/ social networks is a 100% law abiding citizen who would never dream of resorting to dirty tricks in a desperate attempt to win a lost election.

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  4. If you have been bringing up issues which get in the way of those large companies and their backer including nations who wish the NHS destroyed piece by piece so that they can monetise the NHS pounds (into dollars and euros etc) or if you have been critical of policies, things like the diruption of tweets may happen to get you down or wear you down so you stop blogging or make an error in your blog rreports. This is how the dark arts types work. They hide behind others sometimes so that you are not quite sure who has done what or why. I speak as one who has had this done to me. ou are in my prayers. p.s. it may be someone who is nothing to due with NHS cure but wants stafford area out of the NHS to profit out of staffordshire medical pounds, dollars,euros etc or becuase that helps them profi out of annother NHS area as the NHS falls as it is purposely wrecked. It may be anyone.(this all contributes to ramming through the eu us trade treaty as labour rights, access to medical caar, wages and working conditions in all the countries get reduced to the lowest common denominators).

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  5. What evidence do you have that a member of CTNHS made a malicious complaint about you or anyone else to Twitter?

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    • No proof, his own blog says as much and even responses from people have suggested far more logical explanations, but that doesn’t fit the ongoing narrative of smear.

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      • Exactly. My blog says as much. However, two people’s accounts suspended after interacting with the same person, including one who is new to Twitter and hasn’t tweeted enough yet to have infringed any rules is strongly suggestive, even though not actually proof, as the blog acknowledges.

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      • “Learn to read?” that’s schoolyard yah-boo-sucks debating strategy again Steve. It really seems to me that you have chosen a weak reason over a stronger one (your tweeting strategy which could be mistaken for spamming and is a bit irritating). You dont even mention this as a possibility to allow the reader to decide. Thats just being selective with the evidence and looks quite like cognitive bias. Your final invitation to your readers just reinforces the unsound conclusions you’ve drawn and is pretty poor. You accuse CTNHS of smearing (which I believe they have in the past) then you go right ahead and do it back. This looks bad and weakens your moral standing.

        Furthermore, the way you deal with Diana’s situation is poor. She needs to produce these witnesses and to get them to give tbier exact acco. You writing a blog on the basis of hearsay is just not good enough. Youve written that CTNHS had mad these state

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      • No, I meant it literally. The answer to the question you were asking was right there in the original article.

        When I first wrote about the Twitter suspension, I acknowledged the possibility of it being a routine matter. But for someone else to be suspended just after defending me to a Cure supporter I had also interacted with just before my suspension is suggestive, at least.

        What invitation to my readers? There is no invitation in this post.

        Diana has, I understand it, been threatened with legal action over her supposedly inaccurate article. She’s entirely wise and within her rights to keep her powder dry – and also doesn’t wish to expose the witnesses to the backlash that will certainly follow unless and until it becomes unavoidable. That’s a very justifiable decision.

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      • …statements about wanting the hospital closed and that this was without question. Well. It has been questioned by someone who is a respected campaigner regardless of who gets his support. She needs to be a bit more forthcoming with these witnesses to be credible

        Finally, your anonymous informant. Printing this kind of thing is just lame, lame lame. Its gossip until you produce someone to sign off on it. This whole piece is pretty bitchy and sordid and stands in contrast to your excellent piece on the BBCs pathetic treatment of A&E data

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      • Well, thank you for the one compliment. The fact that people even very close to JB and to Cure feel the compulsion to tell what they know while pleading for anonymity tells its own story. I feel no compulsion to withhold something that needs to be told just because the bullying is so intense that witnesses feel the need to hide their identities because of the consequences that would follow their identification.

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      • I know what you meant. There are plenty of people who read this who wont have known about your other discussion of the matter.

        Your invitation to your readers is to follow a certain line of thinking and form conclusions which are unsound.

        Diana would be wise to fight her own battles. A lot of this is shit stirring.

        There is a a number of points in this piece which are based on hearsay and none of them are based on what CTNHS have said.

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      • Most of them are based exactly on quotes from Cure. Any post is an invitation for readers to agree. Your point is spurious. All your points, in fact – at least in this comment.

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      • Im sorry but unless you cough up something a bti more substantial then it your sources cant be considered anything more than hearsay.

        All my point are spurious? You need to get a grip. If you think it acceptable to write a piece like this which requires people to have sourced and read other pieces you have written which they need to form more accurate conclusions you are just plain wrong.

        You should *really* try and curb that compulsion Steve. There are v good reasons why people don’t consider it a trustworthy way of doing things.

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      • You’re applying a judicial evidence standard to a journalism piece. A journalist merely needs to know there is a solid source. They are not only not obliged to disclose that source but actively expected not to.

        If I tried to include every piece of information from every relevant previous article, any new article would be completely unreadable. You might prefer that, of course, but I don’t. I provide extensive links so people can read for themselves.

        No work includes every piece of detail from other referenced works, not even the most serious academic one. You have an unrealistic expectation, and it makes me query your motives.

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      • True. Journalists are not expected to reveal thier sources. Journalists also consistently poll as the least trusted professionals. There are very good reasons why that is so as you demonstrate above.

        You say you cant be expected to include every bit of information from previous works. I dont expect that. Ive drawn your attention to a single point. Your omission here is *very obviously* misleading and one sided. Two or three lines could put it right. You cant honestly think that is unrealistic.

        You should really should spend less time questioning my motives and a bit more thinking about what I actually say. I shouldn’t have to argue the point like this. Your unwillingness to conceed even this simple point just looks like point scoring or unnecessary adversarialism or pride. Addressing my concern would demonstrate a willingness to listen and would strengthen what you have written.

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      • I’ve addressed a number of your concerns during our discourse. That doesn’t mean I have to concede every point you try to make. Look at my previous articles – the links to related earlier articles are entirely consistent with the pattern in this one.

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      • Addressing your points doesn’t mean I have to concede them. Where you’ve asked for more info and I’m free to provide it, I’ve done so.

        This is getting monotonous, and I have little enough time for important things without going round in circles with you. Try a new tack, perhaps?

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      • I am not trying a new tack. You have shown no attempt to make concessions over really quite basic points of fact where you are clearly in the wrong. I have no doubt its pointless arguing with you over your wider approach and methods in this matter which are frankly despicable. Hubris has got the better of you Steve and you will be aware of what that comes before.

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      • If and when you show me a ‘point of fact where I’m clearly in the wrong’, I’ll concede. But the standard for that is much higher than you simply asserting that you’ve done it.

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  7. Dave, your summary of Steve seems hyperbolic, one-sided and lacking in both objectivity and compassion! It is not beyond the realms of possibility that someone may be out to smear his efforts or to try to silence him. And he is right to raise such concerns.

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  9. I never knew all this was happening to you Steve. You should have said, I would have defended you all the way through. You know my experiences of Cure the NHS. They have done much the same but I have tried to avoid them. Well done on raising this issue. I back you 100 percent always as you know.

    Best

    Rita

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    • 🙂 Thank you! It’s par for the course when you raise certain issues, but it’s fine. It’s only because others were being hunted relentlessly that I felt I ought to publish what I had.

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  10. Hi there Steve, backing you and reblogged and will share post on fb and twitter. I am appalled that you are being treated this way, for doing the right thing in bringing this out to the open. Well done for raising this issue, good on ya. Blessings In Solidarity! 🙂

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  11. By the way…why do you call Gary Walker a ‘whistleblower’ as though this was in question? And whats wrong with his twitter name?

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    • You wouldn’t want to know, and if I told you you’d merely demand details and identities that I’ve been asked to keep out of the public domain for now.

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      • No. I do want to know. Im sure it is inconvenient for you to be asked to produce evidence for the serious allegations you infer but if you are going to do it publicly you really should expect to be called out on it. And you should expect to not be considered credible until such time as you produce some kind of convincing evidence.

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      • You’re asking for evidence of something you’ve raised yourself. I’ve been told by persons very close to the issues that all is not as it seems in his case. I’m not prepared to reveal more than that, as I would have to breach confidences to do so. Deal with. You’re the one who wants to go into detail on the matter, not me.

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    • Look. Youve very obviously questioned Garys credibility. I didnt raise that, you did. You should defend your position or just not bring it up.

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      • I used some speech marks. I do question his credibility, but wasn’t making that the issue in this article. If I decide to make an issue of it in an article, then you’ll be entitled to expect more supporting evidence.

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  12. And while I’m at it …you post David Drew’s tweet under a section saying “..the knives are out” among CTNHS supporters, He posted a factual tweet about the rebuttal to Diana then asked if there could be realistic to hope for a reconciliation!

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    • I couldn’t include the tweets that followed his without including his. People are (mostly) capable of reading, so they can easily see that his message contained nothing objectionable.

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      • Well, I can read and it looked very like you were saying he had the knives out….I have shown it to several other people and they agree with me. They can read too. You throw a lot of accusations around Steve. Also, you’ve clashed with him before? Its getting a little bit difficult to discern who you are pointing at.

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      • I have clashed with him before – mostly in a fairly friendly manner. I’m very clear whom I’m accusing, and an tweet containing an invitation to reconcile is clearly not abusive. I’ve explained why it was left in. People don’t need to be spoon-fed.

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    • Its not clear to the reader Steve. Im not the only person who thinks so. Ignore that if you want

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      • It’s clear to anyone who thinks about it and doesn’t have an agenda. It’s obvious to anyone that the content of the tweets shown is relevant.

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      • I thought about it. I can read. My agenda is that you get things right. Its not clear. Several people including me who have read this have misinterpreted your intention. You can let that stand or make some minimal effort to ensure that people are not mislead. Getting your intention over to the reader is hard and we dont always succeed all of the time. I am rigorously edited and re-edited in my writing. It improves what I write although it can be hard to accept it.

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      • I’m sure you know it’s perfectly possible to be perfectly clear, and still have people misunderstand what you say. If you only published what was guaranteed never to be misunderstood, everyone would have to say nothing at all.

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      • You aren’t even willing to concede this simple point. You haven’t been clear for the reader. It has been pointed out to you by a reader. Not even a reader who is looking to find fault in everything you write. Once again you are letting your ego get the better of you.

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      • Loki, or whatever your name is – the tweets ran in an order that included David’s tweets. It’s perfectly clear that he’s not being abusive with his message. I try to avoid treating people like idiots unless it’s inescapably obvious that’s what they are. Anyone reading that will think, ‘That one’s not abusive’ – which is exactly what you did.

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  13. Yes. David has potential to be a bridge. I would have liked to give him the detail to understand – but it would have been impossible on twitter.
    I have found the attacks on me deeply unpleasant. I am sure that it has been difficult for the others challenged by that old blog that has been quietly sitting there for over a year. It puzzles me that there was a need to bring it to the surface now. Too much has been made of it.
    Julie is quite a gifted & natural public speaker. She was responding to the extraordinary level of emotion in that room on that night. I do not think her words were scripted, and they may or may not have reflected what she would normally feel or acknowledge.
    I was doing some public speaking myself last night. and know that when a speech is really working – and you are in tune with your audience that is not entirely a conscious process. I do not remember my own words from last night, but some of the public may do so.
    My feeling is that the town at that time needed calm words, healers, a quiet way forward. It got the beginnings of a process that has locked us into a conflict that has lasted longer than world war II. – Julie would be wrong to think I blame her for that. I think that things got very complicated very quickly. Not in anyones control.
    The questions that Julie raised – on the way we care for frail elderly, did need to be heard. I had been raising them since 2001, but my voice is quieter. Finding the solution for Stafford over the next few months may well offer a way forward for the concerns that both she and I were raising. That will be in my thoughts as I help with the process of trying to find a way.
    I am sure that many people will wish Ms Bailey well in her choice to let go and move on with her life.

    Like

    • Hi Di. Perhaps you should ask him directly (not on twitter) he seems like a reasonable person.

      I don’t envy you your position. It must be difficult. However i would advise (not that any advice I give carries much weight) fighting your battles through Steve. He has particular gifts but this kind of post just causes even more trouble ( sorry Steve thats not meant to be an attack, just my heartfelt and considered opinion),

      Like

  14. Pingback: 'Hounded heroine'? The Cure the NHS myth | Welf...·

  15. As Diana intimates, Cure the NHS might be a very unusual group in many ways but the message that on the ground care in certain parts of Hospitals left much to be desired was well worth airing.
    The problem was that instead of accepting that this had crept up on the NHS and was present in many hospitals; and had a vast array of underlying causes (most culminating in too few qualified nurses on the wards) – the one story was taken up by all sorts of different vested interests because the narrative suited their purpose.
    Cure the NHS has played it’s part (and failed to see the bigger picture) but compared to the various parts of the political, media, commercial and (yes) medical establishment they are very small fry – except that they have allowed themselves to be mercilessly manipulated by the powerful forces mentioned. A very reasonable observation on Cure would be that they have signally failed to follow their period of criticism with anything good. Under these circumstances, they cannot expect to go entirely unchallenged (by those in a position to and/or brave enough to do it). You have done the right thing Steve.

    Like

  16. Oh dear. Where to start. JBs twitter response to Clare Gerada was rediculous. There was absolutely nothing distasteful about what she wrote and wisely didn’t engage. JBs then claim that case notes as evidence was a myth goes against what every clinical person in the NHS will tell you. Clare Gerada was 100% correct. Don’t get me started on lazy mirror journalism quoting 1200 deaths. I have to wonder sometimes if its really her tweeting and how much of the campaign work she does because its difficult for me to see how she can ignore the reality of the HSMR stats and how they do not indicate needless deaths. Cure endorsed Francis but its in the evidence of the report that the measure can’t be used to show needless deaths. There’s always something dangerous about groups of people who become he’ll bent on a stance or ideology in the face of evidence to the contrary and ignore all sense of reality. Are they becoming a cult ?

    Like

  17. I love the absurd notion that Steve is somehow being bullied, but in the space of two weeks has blogged on two unsubstantiated claims.

    What we have, as readers, supporters, friends or fellow activists is:-

    1. Proof of bullying and smear within these blogs
    2. No proof of CTNHS bullying or harassment.

    I don’t doubt that CTNHS has not been saintly in every respect, who is? Particularly given the circumstances. I don’t buy into this notion that the political activists that oppose them are bullied by Cure or anyone else, quite the reverse. Are the bullies simply getting bullied back?

    Like

    • If you apply your last comment to Cure, possibly. But this isn’t bullying, just exposure. You’ve clearly no understanding of what some ‘activists’ have gone through (and I don’t include myself in that, as I wouldn’t put what I’ve experienced much beyond the nuisance level, though no doubt intimidation was intended).

      I’ve provided tweets that show Cure’s tactics, and accounts of other instances with as much detail as confidentiality obligations allow. Deal with it, and don’t try so hard to defend the indefensible.

      Like

  18. There may be times Dave when your last sentence is pretty close to reality but I believe cure we’re given an easy ride and almost god like status for too long and then were ill equipped to handle criticisms or counter arguments. They came out fighting, sometimes below the belt, which in turn provoked a response. I fear reasoned debate is an exception.

    Like

    • Ronnie, I see little in the way of reasoned debate on Steve’s two latest blogs on Cure, just accusations, one of which is a very serious one that involves criminality. Had Steve made that accusation against me, he would have heard from my solicitor, then I assume I’d be accused of bullying in future blogs.

      Like

      • Assuming you’re referring to putting a victim’s phone number on the ‘wall of shame’, truth is an absolute defence. You’re not accused, so don’t worry about it.

        Like

  19. It’s not exposure Steve, it’s bullying. You can window-dress this as much as you like.

    1) You question JBs accounts of being victimised, suggesting its made up and then set about victimising JB. If the first bit isn’t happening, the second bit certainly is. The only evidence, ironically, is this blog.

    2) You claim a second person was blocked within minutes of posting. How utterly and technically illiterate must you be to believe that an active monitoring system, dealing will millions of tweets a minute, can provide this? How would a filter provide such a quick response? Or was someone watching you in real-time? Both highly doubtful. It’s much more likely that your repetitive tweets triggered a Spam filter.

    3) Twitter is an open forum, with non-linear connections and conversations. People should not be offended, shocked or troubled by unsolicited responses. If they are then they don’t understand Twitter, it isn’t a place for private conversations.

    4) Diana Smith has a case to answer on her recollections, that you’ve not verified other than once again with pure here say. I thought you liked evidence? Previous little evidence to support Diana.

    5) I love how a Christian claims that hearing voices should be raised by the press as proof of mental fragility. This is churlish in the extreme as I don’t believe JB is suggesting she physically hears voices, more that her memory takes her back. Lets not forget that Christians have monologues with imaginary friends regularly through prayer. I say
    imaginary not to insult people of faith, but to point out the utter drivel in the point you raise.

    I think you’re utterly paranoid, but the source of this is yourself. You go on the attack, and have been doing for sometime. When anyone dares to question your motives you play the “I’m being bullied” card.

    We once again wait for some proper evidence of the many claims you’ve made, hear say is not evidence, artefacts and the like are. Present something tangible and I’ll listen to you, present constant bile and I’ll continue to defend Cure and get accused by you of bullying. It’s a price worth paying.

    Like

    • Last one, David. This takes more time than it’s worth.

      1) You question JBs accounts of being victimised, suggesting its made up and then set about victimising JB. If the first bit isn’t happening, the second bit certainly is. The only evidence, ironically, is this blog.

      Victimisation requires a victim. JB is no victim, she and her cheerleaders round on anyone who dissents to try to wear them into silence. Exposing that is by no definition victimisation or bulllying.

      2) You claim a second person was blocked within minutes of posting. How utterly and technically illiterate must you be to believe that an active monitoring system, dealing will millions of tweets a minute, can provide this? How would a filter provide such a quick response? Or was someone watching you in real-time? Both highly doubtful. It’s much more likely that your repetitive tweets triggered a Spam filter.

      The other person had only recently joined Twitter and had posted no ‘repetitive tweets’, nor anything objectionable – unless, like Cure, you consider disagreeing with them offensive.

      3) Twitter is an open forum, with non-linear connections and conversations. People should not be offended, shocked or troubled by unsolicited responses. If they are then they don’t understand Twitter, it isn’t a place for private conversations.

      Not sure what you’re referring to here.

      4) Diana Smith has a case to answer on her recollections, that you’ve not verified other than once again with pure here say. I thought you liked evidence? Previous little evidence to support Diana.

      The evidence exists, the witnesses exist. There are many good reasons for not exposing them ahead of time. I’ve had a number of people ask me – even beg me – to make sure to protect their identity and contribution for fear of reprisal and intimidation. Giving evidence of that would mean breaking that trust, so you’ll just have to live with it until it becomes public in due time.

      5) I love how a Christian claims that hearing voices should be raised by the press as proof of mental fragility. This is churlish in the extreme as I don’t believe JB is suggesting she physically hears voices, more that her memory takes her back. Lets not forget that Christians have monologues with imaginary friends regularly through prayer. I say
      imaginary not to insult people of faith, but to point out the utter drivel in the point you raise.

      How can JB remember people she never met? She said she now hears the voices of *all* those who died at Stafford. Even assuming she must mean around the time of her mother’s death, she would claim that to be hundreds – though it’s nothing of the sort. And having a monologue is in no way comparable to claiming you can’t get the voices of dead people out of your head.

      “I think you’re utterly paranoid, but the source of this is yourself. You go on the attack, and have been doing for sometime. When anyone dares to question your motives you play the “I’m being bullied” card.”

      Have *I* claimed to have been bullied? You’re overreaching. Others have been bullied – some have resisted, some have been terrified, some heartbroken. Cure’s ‘barracuda’ tactics annoy me, but while it’s certainly a bullying attempt, it fails.

      “We once again wait for some proper evidence of the many claims you’ve made, hear say is not evidence, artefacts and the like are. Present something tangible and I’ll listen to you, present constant bile and I’ll continue to defend Cure and get accused by you of bullying. It’s a price worth paying.”

      That’s nonsense, David. Eyewitness evidence is evidence. If you applied your standard to the claims of JB and Cure, they’ve got nothing and should be laughed out of the court of public opinion. But people swallow it whole and the press is there with a ramrod to force it down.

      Unlike Cure, I only state something when I have solid cause. That I don’t choose to break trust and reveal it to you just because you want me to has no impact on the truth of that.

      Like

      • 1) So there you have it, in a nutshell. To claim JB is not a victim and isn’t victimised is just folly and blows any credible notion that you have one shred of human decency. I know, I know, anyone that knows you would say different. It’s what you do that defines you, and your hate campaign against Cure is nothing more than that.

        2) You truly are technically illiterate, or paranoid in the extreme. There is no way a complaint to Twitter would suspend your account because someone complained, even less block one of your followers. You will have been flagged as a potential Spammer, but this of course doesn’t fit your narrative.

        3) Your blog refers to Tweeted responses to people from people not addressed in the original Tweet, and suggests “not entitled” – sorry but if you post on Twitter then you’re soliciting responses on an open forum so responders are very much “entitled.”

        4) Usual “I have evidence but I can’t share it” approach. The promise of future-based revelations is not evidence of erm…. evidence. It’s a common theme for you, unsubstantiated claims that you will never reveal the evidence of in future. I think given the seriousness of some allegations this is a despicable act, and makes it a smear and accusation you can’t, or will not back up. Until you prove these claims, and the onus is on YOU to do so, then they should be treated with the respect they deserve, i.e. none. Here’s a thought, why don’t you wait until you can make the claim and provide the evidence? Would seem like a fair and reasonable approach. You will not of course. Far more fun to bully and harass people isn’t it?

        5) In a narrative with more holes than a tramps vest this is the best. You’re clearly taking this in a literal way. Of course JB isn’t referring to actual voices of all patients, it’s clear to anyone that she’s haunted by the events at Mid-Staffs, events you seem determined to prove didn’t happen, even though proper evidence is there for all to see. You’re a revisionist, a fantasist, a theorist of conspiracies, worst of all your an apologist for what happened. You’re in denial.

        You claim to be too long in the tooth to be troubled by it, which infers you’re being bullied but man enough to take it, so not over-reaching at all.

        There is evidence, and far more evidence of what Cure claim than what you claim. Read the reports, including the transcripts, listen to eyewitness accounts etc. Or are those eyewitness statements only valid if they suit your narrative. You’re the bully and you have made your bed, don’t cry to the world when you’re then forced to sleep in it.

        You will if course come back with “last time”, petty insults, can you read etc. Block me if you choose, but that will in itself prove my point.

        Like

      • “1) So there you have it, in a nutshell. To claim JB is not a victim and isn’t victimised is just folly and blows any credible notion that you have one shred of human decency. I know, I know, anyone that knows you would say different. It’s what you do that defines you, and your hate campaign against Cure is nothing more than that.”

        JB is not a victim. You’re entitled to your own opinion on my humanity or otherwise, even if it’s nonsense.

        “2) You truly are technically illiterate, or paranoid in the extreme. There is no way a complaint to Twitter would suspend your account because someone complained, even less block one of your followers. You will have been flagged as a potential Spammer, but this of course doesn’t fit your narrative.”

        Twitter have a hair trigger on complaints sometimes. Suspend and then investigate. I’ve seen that in operation with others. My account was suspended during a period when I was tweeting far less than normal, but I didn’t trigger a a suspension in the far busier periods.

        “3) Your blog refers to Tweeted responses to people from people not addressed in the original Tweet, and suggests “not entitled” – sorry but if you post on Twitter then you’re soliciting responses on an open forum so responders are very much “entitled.””

        That suggestion is your inference, and it’s incorrect. I wrote that the jumping in on a completely unrelated thread revealed a certain desperation to smear me, not that people are not entitled to chip in with relevant comments.

        “4) Usual “I have evidence but I can’t share it” approach. The promise of future-based revelations is not evidence of erm…. evidence. It’s a common theme for you, unsubstantiated claims that you will never reveal the evidence of in future. I think given the seriousness of some allegations this is a despicable act, and makes it a smear and accusation you can’t, or will not back up. Until you prove these claims, and the onus is on YOU to do so, then they should be treated with the respect they deserve, i.e. none. Here’s a thought, why don’t you wait until you can make the claim and provide the evidence? Would seem like a fair and reasonable approach. You will not of course. Far more fun to bully and harass people isn’t it?”

        I can prove them. I just choose to decide when and to whom that proof is offered. To write my articles, I merely have to know that the evidence exists. I have no obligation to reveal it on your say-so. You don’t seem able to grasp that.

        !5) In a narrative with more holes than a tramps vest this is the best. You’re clearly taking this in a literal way. Of course JB isn’t referring to actual voices of all patients, it’s clear to anyone that she’s haunted by the events at Mid-Staffs, events you seem determined to prove didn’t happen, even though proper evidence is there for all to see.”

        This is so typical of the lack of precise thinking – and even less precise listening. I have never claimed there was no poor care at Stafford, nor that people didn’t die. Both those things are stipulated. What I dispute are the causes and extent – and the ‘excess’ death figures. Poor care did not result in an elevated death rate – people rarely die from sitting in a wet bed for a bit longer than they ideally should.

        “You’re a revisionist, a fantasist, a theorist of conspiracies, worst of all your an apologist for what happened. You’re in denial.”

        Ah, there it is. I wondered how long that would take to appear. ‘Mid Staffs denier’ is Cure’s favourite nonsense appellation for me. It betrays either an inability to read, or more likely a severe case of denial on there part. Ah well – irony has never been their strong point.

        “You claim to be too long in the tooth to be troubled by it, which infers you’re being bullied but man enough to take it, so not over-reaching at all.”

        I think you mean ‘implies’, but never mind. Cure is an irritant to me personally – but to the NHS they’re a co-morbidity in an affliction that threatens the existence of the NHS. That needs to be addressed, not ducked just because they lash out at anyone who disagrees with them.

        “There is evidence, and far more evidence of what Cure claim than what you claim. Read the reports, including the transcripts, listen to eyewitness accounts etc.”

        I’ve read the transcripts, and based my conclusions on them as well as other evidence. Cure, on the other hand, appeal constantly to Francis yet make declarations that show they’ve no idea of most of what it says. At a stretch, they might have read the executive summary. Or else they know what it says, but they just ignore the bits that disagree with them.

        “Or are those eyewitness statements only valid if they suit your narrative. You’re the bully and you have made your bed, don’t cry to the world when you’re then forced to sleep in it.”

        If you see me ever asking for pity, you might be entitled to make that kind of statement. I knew exactly what the response would be when I took on Cure – and I haven’t been ‘disappointed’.

        You will if course come back with “last time”, petty insults, can you read etc. Block me if you choose, but that will in itself prove my point. As for bullying, don’t talk nonsense. How can one person working in his own time and on his own resources bully a group that mobs any dissenter like a flock of angry seagulls? I’m not the one in denial, it seems.

        I haven’t blocked you, but I’m not going to keep answering the same points over and over. Those will just be deleted, so if you don’t have anything better to contribute, you might be better doing something else with your time.

        Like

    • I asked you – very politely – to stop Tweeting me. I asked you four or five times. It was either block you or report you for abuse. I chose the moderate response.

      You’re unpleasant and you spout nonsense. Life is too short – it would be too short even if I wasn’t working 18hrs a day on this and other things.

      Like

  20. Steve, I haven’t suggested that you’re in denial about poor care at Mid-Staffs. I would however suggest that you’re happy to make excuses for that poor care, be that understaffing etc.

    What I don’t believe you’ve admitted is that what happened at Mid-Staffs hospital was truly disgraceful, and shouldn’t be accepted by any right thinking person. The standard of care failed to meet the expectations we have a right to demand.

    JB lost her Mother to what she perceives as failings, failings that are proven. That in anyone’s book would make JB a victim. Add to that the hate campaign then it’s crazy to suggest JB isn’t a victim.

    The NHS has enjoyed, and continues to act as though in a vacuum from reality, where complaints are swept under the carpet, staff are afraid to speak out and management is woefully lacking. Those that dare speak out often do so in a career-limiting way as honesty is not respected, welcomed or desired. I respect the NHS and want it to be as good as it can be, but accountability is far more important.

    How can one person bully a group? It’s the impact of your words on a much wider group, a wider group that is then part of the bullying. You act as the mouthpiece.

    On infers / imply, don’t be juvenile as your reply also has grammatical errors. I’m not going down that childish path, you knew exactly what I meant. Grow up.

    Like

    • David, you say excuses, I say reasons. There was poor care in isolated pockets, but nothing like what has been portrayed. There is no clinical evidence whatever that JB ‘lost her mother to those failings’. JB’s opinion is that poor care contributed to her mother’s death. She’s not a clinician and doesn’t have the knowledge to judge – and her mother was 86, so her death was hardly something that nobody could have seen coming.

      If JB’s account is correct, her mother died from complications arising from a fall – that can happen in any hospital, no matter how attentive or diligent the nurses. And at that age, fractures from falls are fatal more often than not.

      JB suffered a very sad loss, but she’s no victim. She conflates two issues into one – I keep them separate. That’s commonsense and objectivity, not denial.

      And all this is assuming that JB’s core account is actually true – an issue over which there are serious doubts, even just going by her own words.

      As for all the emotive language that ‘would be accepted by any right-thinking person’, you’re simply wrong. There was some poor care. Robert Francis identified understaffing as the key cause. Not neglect, not callousness. Those even tangentially responsible for the understaffing are gone – along with many who had nothing to do with it, such was the baying for heads.

      By continuing to shout ‘uncaring’ and to side with people who want to use her to bring about the end of the NHS, JB is doing the opposite of what she claims. She’s distracting from the real issues and allowing the government to paint the situation as all about ‘target cultures’ while completely – and I mean completely – and wilfully ignoring the issue of understaffing. Instead, they intensify the problem and then use JB as cover for a ‘failure regime’ that will do nothing to address the real issue, and then close hospitals for their problems.

      Infer/imply was simply a matter of clarification. But if you want to get into a grammar war, fire away.

      Like

      • It’s the language you use Steve that makes you sound like you’re in denial. Example, there was poor care in “isolated” pockets seeks to diminish the poor care still further. Further example is JBs Mother was 86, so her death could be seen coming, again this diminishes it further. Of cause falls happen in all hospitals but again this seeks to diminish the fact it didn’t at ANY hospital, it happened at Mid-Staffs.

        We will agree to disagree on JB as a victim, as everything I’ve read, other than from you and some of your followers, suggests otherwise, including evidence on-record and considered factual.

        I don’t think you see how your posts look uncaring. You either can’t see it or choose not to.

        The Conspiracy Theory about bringing the NHS to an end and using JB as a patsy is pure comedy, and you start to sound deranged and like the American shock jock Alex Jones. With statements like that I question not only your sanity, but certainly your credibility. Why would any government kill off the NHS? It would be political suicide and impossible to achieve. If you’re simply using hyperbole and you really mean to “change” the NHS then I think it’s something that’s worth debating, as its too important not to debate it.

        On the grammar war, grow up and read my original reply and stop being a pedant. It’s juvenile, beneath you and pathetic.

        Like

      • “It’s the language you use Steve that makes you sound like you’re in denial. Example, there was poor care in “isolated” pockets seeks to diminish the poor care still further. Further example is JBs Mother was 86, so her death could be seen coming, again this diminishes it further.”

        ‘Isolated’ is the correct word. It doesn’t diminish the severity of the problem where it existed, but neither does it make the mistake (common with Cure) of hyperbolising everything.

        “Of cause falls happen in all hospitals but again this seeks to diminish the fact it didn’t at ANY hospital, it happened at Mid-Staffs.”

        And every other hospital in the country, and the world. It just so happened that Mid Staffs caught the public attention – thanks to a toxic combination of misrepresented statistics and the stridency of Cure.

        “We will agree to disagree on JB as a victim, as everything I’ve read, other than from you and some of your followers, suggests otherwise, including evidence on-record and considered factual.”

        You haven’t read widely enough. And you’re not paying enough attention to JB’s own words – the inconsistencies and implausibilities are legion. But only if you think as you listen.

        “I don’t think you see how your posts look uncaring. You either can’t see it or choose not to.”

        As I’ve said before, caring has nothing to do with it. However much I sympathise with someone’s grief, it is utter irresponsibility to stand by wringing one’s hands while they burn down the building, just because stopping them would be seen as ‘unkind’.

        “The Conspiracy Theory about bringing the NHS to an end and using JB as a patsy is pure comedy, and you start to sound deranged and like the American shock jock Alex Jones. With statements like that I question not only your sanity, but certainly your credibility.”

        You’re entitled to your opinion. I simply have my eyes and mind open to the evidence. If you really see when you look, the conclusion is inescapable.

        “Why would any government kill off the NHS? It would be political suicide and impossible to achieve.”

        The nonsense of that statement is plain – they want to do it, have even said (in the right circles) that they want to do it, and they have gone a long way to succeeding. The assistance of the press in getting many to look the other way has been invaluable. You should read some of the sources linked here, and see what they Tories themselves have said about the matter in unguarded moments:

        https://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/right-men-speak-with-forked-tongue-tory-nhs-lies-and-what-really-lies-behind-them-14/

        “If you’re simply using hyperbole and you really mean to “change” the NHS then I think it’s something that’s worth debating, as its too important not to debate it.”

        No, I mean dismantle or destroy – end it in any kind of genuine form as a public institution – which is exactly what they intend.

        You’re either extremely naive, wilfully blind or singularly ill-informed.

        Like

  21. In order to bring a little perspective into the picture being painted of an NHS riddled with sloppy care and unscrupulous staff I’s like to tell you about an experience this Saturday at my local A&E. My 86 year old neighbour was taken ill with chest pain when I called at her house to take her for our regular Saturday shopping trip and I had to call an ambulance. Within six minutes a first response paramedic arrived, closely followed by an emergency ambulance. When we arrived at A&E my neighbour was greeted calmly and politely and settled into a cubicle and a nurse took her blood pressure, pulse and temperature and made sure she was comfortable on the trolley.Within fifteen minutes a doctor saw her, took blood samples, did an ECG and prescribed pain medication. He reassured my neighbour that the ECG didn’t suggest she had a problem with her heart, something she had been very worried about.The pain killer was brought by a nurse after a further five minutes. My neighbour asked the nurse for a drink because she was very thirsty. After 10 mins a cup of tea arrived. We then had to wait for the results of the blood tests. After about 45 minutes the doctor returned and said the blood tests were fine. He told my neighbour that her pain was probably associated with her hiatus hernia and advised her to see her GP. She was then discharged.We arrived home around 2 and a half hours after calling the ambulance.I call this excellent service.
    The A&E department had been reasonably busy and the staff were obviously fully occupied but they treated my neighbour with dignity and respect and went out of their way to make sure she was comfortable and was kept informed of what was happening. I’m sure they were doing the same for their other patients.

    Like

  22. Steve, the conspiracy theory is exactly that. It involves a staggering amount of people to be wilfully ignorant, opposition parties, the press, the general public. This is why it’s not in the least bit credible. I don’t doubt that some Tories wish to destroy the NHS, I don’t doubt that some pseudo-Socialists feel the same, Labour peers have suggested as much. I don’t however feel that this means it will happen, or is happening. It’s just spin and hyperbole, a stick to beat the Tories with. Seriously, you’re like Alex Jones, and he is not a sentinel for truth, but a bender of facts to suit an agenda that he then profits from.

    You have the conspiracy theory in your mind, then you find evidence that appears to back the theory up. It’s circular reasoning, very common in people of faith.

    If this makes me naive or ill-informed then so be it, I just don’t believe in most conspiracy theories, they have basis in evidence-based approach, they start with a conclusion and end with the same conclusion, often with huge leaps of faith required to complete the circle.

    Like

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  30. I have read a few of these blogs about Stafford Hospital. I am from a small town near Stafford so Stafford is the nearest hospital for my family who still live in the area.
    First off I would like to say I acknowledge that the Tories have waged a campaign of bad news stories about the NHS and it’s lack of care, and sometimes negligence with the ultimate aim of trashing it so much people will be become so worried about NHS treatment that they will somehow be begging for private healthcare. I despise the Tory tactics and do not want to see the death of the NHS.
    Now that is clear I feel I need to state my families most recent experience of Stafford and it’s not a good one. My sister had to have a bowel resection and was left in a filthy bed with no care, this was unacceptable especially given the type of surgery she had. She was readmitted to the hospital due to an infection in the wound and I received a very distressing phone call from her asking me to come and get her as she was signing herself out. There were no beds in the ward she should have been in so was placed in a geriatric ward, She was given no pain relief and in fact was not seen by medical staff for a full 24hrs because she had somehow fallen through the cracks and nobody knew that she was there. When I arrived to collect her right next to the bed was a large hole in the wall with exposed wires!
    My nephew suffered a hypoxic brain injury and was in intensive care for a long time. Whilst there I saw for myself that some care was good but not all. He was not treated appropriately and I personally feel that his treatment contributed to his current state. I am not a medical professional but my partner is and she was shocked and appalled by some of the things my nephew had to endure at the hospital.
    There were clearly things that were not right but and this is a big BUT we as a family do not wish to see the closure of the hospital but would rather improvements wee made.
    I feel I also must pick up on a comment from you regarding what you would do if your mother was in pain and dying. I have been in that position. Not at this hospital at a different one out of the area, My mother had lung cancer we all knew she was dying, that wasn’t an issue but the complete and utter lack of care that she received was. There was absolutely no dignity in her death and four years on I am still affected by it. The Liverpool care pathway was not followed correctly and this led to a lot of distress for both my mother, my family and other patients on the ward who had to witness what happened. Whilst you say that you would make sure if it were you, that your mother was given appropriate pain relief well let me give you a heads up. If you demand, get distressed or complain to staff you run the risk of being labeled as aggressive toward staff and removed from the hospital. My mother was left in her own urine and feces, fell out of bed during the night and was covered in bruises, she was not given morphine until it was too late. was not given a side room until it got to the point that I said I would go to the press. Not something you really want to be doing when you are in such an emotional state as losing your mother. I defy anyone to be thinking completely straight when they are in this situation and some things just don’t translate.The Dr who TOLD me that treatment was being withdrawn was a junior Dr who couldn’t give me a straight answer as to whether she was dying imminently and I had to ask her if I needed to contact the rest of my family who lived four hours away to get there asap. Fortunately they arrived before she died but not in enough time to have any time with her as she fell into a coma shortly after they arrived. I was not allowed to stay with my mom overnight as I requested and no one contacted me to tell me that she had been asking for me from 7 in the morning to when I arrived at the hospital at noon when visiting hours began. I had to keep on leaving my mom to phone my partner to ask her what I should be asking for including pain relief and medication to stop her lungs filling with fluid and effectively drowning. My moms dog had a more dignified death than she did. So please don’t state things like what you would do, because you really don’t know what you would do unless you are in that situation.
    We need to accept that not everything is rosy in the NHS and accept that some things need to change, Not least of all nursing care or lack of and the underlying reasons for this. Maybe it is because they are overworked, understaffed and having to comply with targets and tick boxes which take them away from frontline work with patients, and maybe sometimes it is because some staff just aren’t up to the job.

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    • Who says I haven’t been in that situation? I’ve watched my mother die in a similar way, with her lungs filling as a tumour ate its way up from her abdomen. Her care was good, in a hospice – but I know what I’d have done had it not been. I’m sorry about what you and your family went through – but what you’ve described is what can happen in a resource-starved, over-stretched NHS. I’m glad you haven’t let it turn you against the hospital – if Ms Bailey had shown any similar kind of attitude, I’d have little argument with her.

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