Mid Staffs. Ward 10. 2007. Relative shatters Julie Bailey’s story?

Julie Bailey, and the ‘Cure the NHS’ group she has founded, have repeated hundreds of times their account of events and conditions at Stafford hospital at the time of the death of her mother. Stafford, along with Ms Bailey and her mother Bella, have become bywords for ‘all that is wrong with the NHS’, ruthlessly exploited by politicians – primarily Conservatives – to undermine public confidence in, and affection for, the NHS.

Bella Bailey died at Stafford in November 2007. According to Julie, her mother died in agony and terror, ignored by nurses while all around them patients suffered, and even fell out of bed and were left on the floor until they sank into silence. Stories of patients drinking from vases have been repeated as fact until almost no one dares doubt them, and nurses have been abused in the street just because they worked at Stafford hospital.

I received an unsolicited email this evening from a Stafford man whose mother died on ward 10, the same ward that Bella Bailey was admitted to, and only a month or so after Bella’s death. I’m going to repeat it here verbatim – nothing I could do to it could make its impact more powerful or more telling.

Andy Sutherland’s story

My mother, Marion Sutherland became ill and was admitted to Stafford hospital on Dec 27th 2007 and was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke, a couple of days later she suffered a massive stroke and was transferred to a side room on ward 10. The family were told that recovery was impossible and that it was just a question of time. She was in a comatose state by that time.

During that initial period we observed that Mum was always clean, her hair brushed, her bed linen clean.Members of her family made a pact that she would never be alone during this time, so we started a vigil and also informed family members who live in Edinburgh, they arrived from Scotland on New Years Eve. My wife and I spent 19 hours unbroken at my mothers bedside. There were various members of our family, especially those from Scotland who were upset and didn’t want to leave her. 

The nurse on duty said we could use the family room, that the staff had been using as their rest room over the Christmas period, so we could take it in turns to actually be BY Mum’s bed. The staff were kindness itself, even given the fact that our family is quite a large one and we were all naturally concerned, but we were still touched that they had given up THEIR small bit of festive cheer for us.

The nurse in charge, a staff nurse I believe, was ready to talk to any one of us, despite the fact that it was obvious that the ward was extremely short of staff.
My wife and I stayed in that side room throughout New Years Day 2008, members of staff came to ask if we were ok as often as was reasonable to expect. By the evening of New years day we were “relieved” by my brother, who settled down to spend the night with Mum. At 6am the next day he rang to say Mum had passed quietly away and could we come back up to the hospital.
Because of our exhausted state it took my wife and I almost 2 hours to get up to the ward from my daughters home, where we were staying. Those wonderful nurses KNEW we were returning after so short a time rest, and didn’t rush us to say goodbye, there were quite a few of us family members at at NO time were any of us made to feel “in the way” In fact, the ward sister on duty that morning, a Sister Dick, even spent a couple of moments letting my wife cry on her shoulder.
My wife wrote a letter of thanks to staff on ward 10 and sent it to the Director of Nursing. Imagine our horror as, whilst we were living in Spain, stories were emerging of “bad treatment” on that ward. Of patient drinking from flower vases, of patients being left in filth etc etc. At NO TIME did we hear anyone crying (or even screaming, as we heard claimed), flowers were NOT allowed on the ward at any time, therefore no vases, and the staff, though rushed off their feet, could not have been kinder. It has caused us great anguish over the last few years to hear all the “horror” stories when WE know the good care our mother was given. The voices of families like us have gone unheard over the years, despite many efforts and complaints to the media and press that there WAS good care at Stafford, and I welcome an opportunity to tell OUR story.
Andrew Sutherland

Mr Sutherland asked me to publish his story, and was happy to be named so that he can stand publicly by it.

I have pointed out, in various articles, the serious problems and inconsistencies with the story Ms Bailey has fed to the media – inconsistencies that any journalist worthy of the name should have explored.

Ms Bailey has claimed, in a lengthy radio interview, that she left patients in neighbouring rooms crying out for help until they lapsed into silence, after falling out of bed – yet she criticises nurses for lacking compassion when she sat by instead of going to find help. She has claimed to have looked into her mothers terrified eyes as she begged for painkillers on the last night of her life – yet she did not go to find a nurse and drag her to give the drugs, as I would, and probably you too.

Her account has been swallowed whole by media and politicians – some out of clear ulterior motives, and some out of lazy journalism or editorial pressure – even though it has grown and been embellished to the point of nonsense as time has passed.

And she continues to act as a focal point for those who wish to break the NHS even while claiming to love and protect it – only today she attended a ludicrous service at Westminster Abbey, while still calling for heads to roll.

Mr Sutherland’s experience happened only weeks after Ms Bailey’s, and well before any publicity about the hospital which might have caused some rapid clean-ip – yet he found a ward, and staff, which were not only adequate and safe but exemplary. He also gives eyewitness confirmation that no vases were allowed on the wards at the hospital – confirming what was already clear but ignored by media who continue to repeat the story.

Two accounts. One hellish, one glowing. One by a woman and a group who have garnered attention and influence by repeating their story in ever more shocking detail – and one by a man who has sought neither, but is so outraged that he is prepared to face the onslaught that will undoubtedly follow, just in order to set the record straight.

Which do you believe?


  1. Oh, I know which one I believe, Steve. No contest. The Bailey woman has always come across as a bit of an attention seeker.

  2. Yes, again & again with this Govt, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” – Winston Churchill.
    One almost feels the Tory PR & Nudge Nudge tactic is “get Cameron/Osborne/Hunt to let fly with the lies first & fast – as they’ll spread like wildfire on tinder before the clouds can gather to rain”

  3. We are not amazed.

    After all is said and done, Cure-the-NHS contains a number of bereaved relatives who may or may not have experienced or seen poor care (which does happen sometimes, often through understaffing – as mentioned twice as being the case on this ward by Mr Sutherland). Who knows what distortions can occur in the minds of the bereaved? Who knows what the relationships were like in life and how that may influence the bereavement experience?

    However, this background reasoning cannot be applied to QCs running public inquiries, managers, politicians or journalists. They have run with this questionable narrative without a second thought to the consequences for local patients and created an industry of it – culminating in wholesale closure plans for acute services all over the country. There is a massive democratic deficit. The public value local acute services and are prepared to pay for them – especially when the funding gap created by PBR for each DGH each year is less than the cost of keeping our troops in Afghanistan for a day – but they are not being allowed to by the nobs in suits who know what’s good for them.

    In years to come this may come to be seen as an episode for the press that puts Levison in the shade.

  4. Don’t know who is right, maybe both on adjoining wards.
    My wife spent more time in hospitals than anyone should, we remarked in 2001 it was the first year for 6 years she had not been in for something.
    However, when she had a stroke in 2005 the treatment was atrocious, as bad as Staffordshire, in fact they could have been speaking about Harrogate at the time, foundation trust beacon according to the check list.
    I documented everything, and wanted to sue but was too depressed after her death,
    WARNING, it is usually geriatric wards that are bad. Seen it when I was in for four days and nobody offered me a gown in that time, walked round in same underpants at night to go to loo. Everywhere else could be perfect, though waiting times for appointments have doubled since tories took over.

  5. I am wondering if it is a Tory plot to bring down the NHS.. I had a stroke last year and could not have asked for better more caring treatment as I was rushed to A&E and all from a health trust that has been in the news a lot in recent times regarding care & A&E especially (Morecambe Bay Health Trust) I have just recently had a major operation and could not have asked for better caring treatment…..

  6. No one has ever claimed that all patients were neglected. Some clearly got and do get good care. But the evidence is also clear that some were seriously neglected including an old friend of mine whose bedsores were left untreated.
    Just because some people only witnessed good care doesn’t mean others weren’t left poorly watered, poorly fed with their toilet needs ignored.

  7. NEWS: Mid Staffs Trust Special Administrator asks for more time.

    Having advertised timetable, public consultation meetings, venues, times etc starting next week and the weeks after – now it’s all apparently cancelled. Will ask (and is entitled so to do) for another month to write the plan and an extra 10 days for the public consultation.

    What does this mean?
    The plan is so devastating to local services that they need more time to make the process watertight?
    After yesterday’s children’s cardiac surgery announcement (the public haven’t been listened to etc) they realise they couldn’t possibly claim to have listened to the public and need to change the plan?
    They’ve suddenly realised, given the information coming out about the effect of A&E closures, that the claims of what other potential providers can do for a distant population might be cobblers?
    A last-minute bid from Keiser Permanente or Virgin Healthcare has arrived?
    Mr Hunt realises he’s being found out and has suggested, all of a sudden, that they act sensibly?
    Somebody has lost the computer with the plan on it?
    £2.5m (+£2m for the CPT report by the same company) seems inadequate for all their trouble so they want to string it out a bit?
    They’ve got the jitters when they read the Lewisham legal challenge?

    Frankly I haven’t a clue.

    1. The word on the street is that the delay has been caused by the bigger hospitals surrounding us fighting over the cherry-pickings! Who needs enemies when you have friends like …..?

  8. In my own well published story now about my own chronic Alcoholism and subsequent admission to intensive care and then Ward 11 in a coma dying and not even expected to make the ambulance journey to hospital where they didn’t even know who I was to eventually recover and though alcoholism is with you for life now facing almost 11 years sober ( The very least I could do) in gratitude. I later remarried the most beautiful person I’d ever known being together for 2 1/2 years and wed for just 27 days before personal tragedy struck and though the Staff fought and fought and fought some and getting beyond the recommended blood replacement before having to make that horrific decision after caring advice to turn the LS off after witnessing not even a flicker of recovery. What I can’t understand and still can’t get an answer with the JB thing tragic though it was and with her power do what I had to do after being called out By Bloxwich Police to go to little Haywood to my mums after she was caught wandering down the A51 at half past ten at night with Alzheimers looking for her Newsagents shop in Wolverhampton and stayed with her till she died peacefully in her arm chair at 81 having to do the non too pleasant tasks of basic nursing after point blank refusal to let all outside assistance inside the house. I do indeed know which story to believe. Yours old Pal!!!

  9. Mr Sutherland is indeed a brave man to have spoken up like this. His account of his families’ experience rings extremely true with me and echoes my own recollections of my time as a nurse. The way his family were treated is the way we would routinely treat relatives of dying patients. It was then and still is normal NHS practice.I remember the first experience I had of caring for a dying patient as a second year student nurse on night duty on a surgical ward.The ward sister explained the principle of doing everything possible to ensure the patient’s and relatives’ immediate environment was made as near as possible like their own home; so wherever possible the patient was nursed in a single room, all unnecessary clinical equipment should be removed, the patient should be kept clean and comfortable, relatives should have open access and made aware that a priest or other relevant religious representative was on call should they need them.
    I also remember that flowers (and thus vases) were banned from wards towards the end of my time as a nurse back in 1995, because some patients are allergic to pollen.I doubt if any hospital ward still has vases.

  10. Before moving to another part of the midlands, I lived near Stafford, and had the misfortune to require hospital treatment on a few occasions. Stafford was an excellent hospital, with my last visit in December 2005. I also know several others who have been in Stafford General at various times, and they have nothing but praise for the staff and level of treatment. I can only think that JB is very bitter about the loss of her mother, and rather than accept that death comes to us all, would rather blame the hospital than the fact that her mother was dying.

  11. Just want to echo gratitude to Mr Sutherland. A response from someone who does not have any particular axe to grind. In my Trust, vases were banned about 5-6 years ago. The context-infection control!

    There has been arrive in the NHS to reduce hospital acquired infection with targets in place and incidents of HAI are monitored and reported. As such many hospitals withdrew flowers,vases and other non necessary items in order to reduce the potential for cross infection leading to patients becoming infected whilst in hospital. Hospital staff (domestics and Nursing) work in conjunction to meet such targets and wards are regularly assessed by senior staff ( infection control) who rate and report individual wards to the Trust Board. This is not a new initiative and has been in place for several years. I would point out that I work within a MH trust, with ambulatory patients, who are at little risk of developing HAI through open wounds, post surgery etc. We, too, have to follow policies and procedures related to infection control including not having flowers or flower vases on the wards! Keep challenging Steve.

  12. My aunt works in the kitchens at S.H. She hears things, and what I’m about to say may be a bit twisted up, but it’s what she heard.
    After Julie’s Mother died, she wrote a letter to the nurses thanking them for the care of her Mother. Secondly, she needed to go in hospital sometime after, (when everything was public) and paramedics refused to take her to newcastle so she had to go to Stafford, where she had to be seen under a different name.

    As I say, I don’t know how much of this is true, but if it is then I think it needs to be public

  13. Not sure. As you say there is clearly some inconsistency.

    A friend of mine who is training to be nurse says the ward she works on is just like the horror stories people read about in the press. All the patients on the ward have terminal illnesses, are elderly or are alcoholics and many are left unattended for many hours and sometimes all day lying in their own urine etc., she is often left on her own at 21 years of age.

    She feels it is a combination of under staffing and nurses who should not be in the profession or who are so cheesed off and stressed they give the impression that they do not care.

    This experience has not deterred her; she is moving to another hospital soon.

    I have received exemplary care for the past 21 years and due to my many ailments I visit hospital on a regular basis. I have been an in patient in 3 hospitals throughout the North East. Only one fell short with cleanliness and best practice on one occasion and I discharged myself after one night.

    My mother has been in and out of hospital all her life and has received excellent care until last year, but I feel this may have been due to the new target driven regime.

    What is often forgotten is, when there are staff shortages in a caring environment the impact is far greater and significant compared to any other sector. In a admin situation, customers may be held up a queue or kept waiting on the phone for along time, but none of this is life threatening.

    I cannot think of any other environment where staff are subject to so much public scrutiny nearly every minute of every day, not only from their peers, managers and doctors but family members too. Every wort is exposed when people are under significant pressure or there is inadequate leadership or resources.

    Was Julie the only complainant?

    1. No, there were others – and without question there were issues on a few wards, but seemingly not on ward 10. However, I’m sure there is a high degree of people egging each other on until grievances are magnified far beyond their original scale.

  14. Is the NHS being set up to fail, like Jobcentre Plus to justify privatisation?

    Someone I know has work for JCP for nearly 40 years said the current regime is the worst practice she has ever seen.

    Prove that

    1. It’s hard to know. I doubt the conversations about such things ever go on the record! But who knows, if we knew the right dept to hit with the right FOI requests, something might shake loose.

  15. This has gone on long enough now, the bile and the hate needs to stop, particularly if we’re going to put our best foot forward as a community to save and then support acute services at Mid-Staffs.

    What you’re doing is playing into the hands of those with influence, those that seek to divide and conquer. By fuelling the Us vs. Them tactic you’re playing right into their hands. The media will seize on the hate campaign, they will blame front-line staff for being behind it or involved, thereby creating further stories that back-up their original narrative about Mid-Staffs.

    It’s a shame you can’t see it, are ignorant to it, and you’re willingly allowing it to happen. You’re doing the hard yards for them, you think you’re helping, but you’re simply loading the bullets and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy gun that will end up shooting back at you.

    Awaits the usual nonsense on trolling / stalking etc but as a member of the Stafford community I have every right to comment on things that impact me, my family, and my fellow townsfolk. It’s easy to sit in a northern ivory tower taking pot shots at the perceived enemy. It will not impact the author one way or the other, for the rest of us it divisive, designed to be so, and wholly unhelpful. It’s doing more harm than good and will achieve nothing good, absolutely nothing.

    1. I’ve never questioned your right to comment, David – nor blocked any comment unless it contained information that was going to be damaging to someone else.

      I call it as I see it, and I’m aware of the risks. I’m also more aware of the facts than most people, including many in Stafford, as I’ve made a specific and detailed study of them.

      It’s not a step I took lightly to contest Cure’s version of events. I see them as people deserving pity – there’s certainly no ‘bile and hate’, as you put it. But however much you sympathise with someone’s grief, it’s insanity to stand by while they burn down the house, on the basis that it would be unkind or insensitive to stop them.

      You’re entirely wrong about me not being affected. I love the NHS, and sooner or later I’m going to need it. If Cure continue to be used successfully by anti-NHS interests, I’m going to suffer, just like the vast majority of people in this country. This is not something that’s limited to Stafford any more – it probably never was.

      1. First part not directed at you per se. Although, I do disagree that the information you deleted was damaging to someone else, lets leave that there. Ironically people will never know what is was and will assume I was underhanded, I wasn’t and you know that.

        I know you call it how you see it, and that’s a quality I utterly respect. This is the United Kingdom, where we have the freedom of speech and the freedom to disagree. We’re at loggerheads about your definition of facts. You present a question, but do so in a way that sounds factual. Its often straw man. Take this blog piece, someone else didn’t experience the same experience therefore someone is lying, embellishing or exaggerating. Isn’t the less grandiose probability and conclusion that most Mid-Staffs patients received great, good or satisfactory care at that time, whilst some others did not? The fact that many people claim the same poor care means the laws of probability are stacked against this argument, but you clearly feel that discrediting the claims made by one person will somehow eradicate the experiences of all that received bad care? Or are you going to go after them after Julie Bailey?

        You see them as deserving pity but don’t show any, so I’m sorry but they’re incredulous and disingenuous words to use. It’s complete hyperbole to suggest Cure are burning the house down, or attempting to. What Cure does, or doesn’t do, will not in any way bring the NHS down. The curve-ball may be that the NHS actually improves, but you don’t appear to have considered that. How could you? Your circular reasoning doesn’t allow it. You’ve started with a conclusion, i.e. they’re killing the NHS, and everything you do to investigate the NHS is based on finding evidence to the conclusion you started with.

      2. Just for the record, you haven’t been underhand. We’ve disagreed a lot, but I wouldn’t accuse you of that.

        The issue in terms of the ward conditions isn’t as you describe it. We’re not talking ‘his experience was pretty good and hers was less satisfactory’, which might be facets of the same reality. JB has painted a picture of a ward like a war zone, with patients left screaming in agony until they fell silent, and obstinate, uncaring nurses refusing to give pain meds until they’re damn well good and ready.

        Mr Sutherland’s picture is of a well-run, calm ward staffed by compassionate nurses who took the time to meet emotional needs as well as physical, with everyone well tended – and no screaming or neglect. And he was there for a number of days, so it wasn’t just that he saw them on a rare good day.

        The two are so diametrically opposite that they can’t both be true. JB’s experience might have had some negative aspects – but even if so, they’ve been massively overblown unless Mr S is making his experience up. He has no incentive to do that.

        I’ve had others tell me that they were on the ward at the same time as Bella Bailey and it was exemplary – but they’re unwilling or unable to put their names to their accounts, so I haven’t used those. But Mr Sutherland’s account is in no way exceptional.

        As to starting with a conclusion, you couldn’t be more wrong. I knew nothing about Stafford or Cure when I started my investigation – my conclusions have come out of what I’ve discovered, and a denial that Cure are damaging the NHS and enabling others to do so is really untenable.

    2. I think you should relate your comments to Ms Bailey as well as here and is it not good to get both sides of a story as opposed to it being all one sided . This is the reason the country is in the mess it is in, because of biased/one sided reporting by the media.

      1. I have the same discussions with a member of Cure. I would like to see a joining of forces for the good of Mid-Staffs, but blogs like this make that impossible to achieve.

        Nothing is ever achieved when people didn’t agree to work together. Divide and conquer is a tool used against the people, never for the people.

      2. This blog is reacting to the tone, agenda and tactics Cure set, David. How did you get on with having that discussion with them?

  16. “Ms Bailey has claimed, in a lengthy radio interview, that she left patients in neighbouring rooms crying out for help until they lapsed into silence, after falling out of bed – yet she criticises nurses for lacking compassion when she sat by instead of going to find help. She has claimed to have looked into her mothers terrified eyes as she begged for painkillers on the last night of her life – yet she did not go to find a nurse and drag her to give the drugs, as I would, and probably you too.”

    Most likely a gross oversimplification, but could JB be so racked with guilt after her own inaction to help her mother that she has transferred the ‘blame’ to the staff?

  17. The problem with all of this is if they do a good job. Its the nurses job. If they fail its someones life and it gets blown out of all proportion. No disrepect to anyone whos lost someone. I lost my dad. But the amount of people that are saved and babies born is not heard about. Let me put it in perspective its not all over the papers that so many have gone to hospital and come back out alive. Thats not news. Or a reason to save money by shutting it down.

    1. The media everywhere live by the motto “if it bleeds, it leads.” This has become particularly apparent since the advent of 24-hour rolling news coverage, where the boundaries of what the viewer is shown is becoming more and more macabre.

  18. I as a resident and a patient welcome this Dave Banner, it is long over due and is not the only recount I have heard that disputes news coverage. Families have had to endures years of heartache, had to try and accept that their loved one, neglected or not, has become a mere number between 1 and 1200, their memory of them tainted by a constant stream of press coverage stating those alleged figures over and over again. It has caused families untold misery wondering if they are guilty of leaving their loved ones in the care of the most uncaring people. It has made them and the public at large live in fear of those who give us healthcare, they are not gods I know, but I have never met a nurse who didn’t give 100% to her vocation. The families have had their grief not only hi jacked but displayed on tv and newspaper stands so often that it must be nigh on impossible for them to move on. Then a slap in the face, a memorial wreath laying service, not in Stafford or Lichfield but in Westminster to which no relatives were actually told about let alone invited to! Grief for the death of a beloved family member is and always should be private and respected but I’m afraid in this case and obviously so many other cases it was and still is
    disrespected in the most horrendous way. It has to stop!

    1. You welcome a divide and conquer approach? Do you truly feel that Mid-Staffs, the Stafford public, the hospital employees benefit from sniping back and fourth? Or would you prefer to see people working together for a much greater good?

      Forget media coverage, read the Francis Report, including transcripts. The best evidence of what happened is there. Of course there will be an overwhelming majority of great, good or satisfactory accounts of the service patients and families received, that has never. ever been in doubt. What you can’t dismiss by using these stories is that it clearly wasn’t, and is proven that it wasn’t, always the case for a large amount of people.

      Do you accept the Francis Report and it’s findings?

      1. No I do not welcome it but remember I have only seen and heard Ms Bailey giving her accounts in public, accounts which I admit to believing for some time but then I began to think for myself. Yes I have read the Francis report, did you? Did you understand it? I am not denying there were problems bound to happen understaffed nurses cannot be all things to all people they are not super beings. I welcome anything that can possibly be done to increase the quality of care and well being of patients. I have talked to people who had relatives on the same ward as Ms Bailey’s Mother, their accounts of the days and weeks they visited that ward do not match those described by Ms Bailey. I have said it before but will say it again………if my Mum or any member of my family was in that situation as described by Ms Bailey not only would they have been removed in haste but Westminster would have heard me and the rest of my family shouting from Stafford…I would not have sat, watched and listened I would have got off my butt and done something right there and then! This unfortunately is not all about Bella Bailey and her daughter, this is about many other families whose deceased relatives are being used to justify many things so people can meet their own ends and that is immoral! Ms Bailey has dominated the media for a long time so I think it is only fair to allow others to give their story a public airing because they have suffered too long in enforced silence.

  19. I certainly ‘know’ which account I support. I wonder if Ms Bailey @ Stafford really knows the lies embedded in her account………? The honest, open, truthful, opposing account does not use hyperbole, distortions or create glaring example as does Ms Bailey’s:

    It indicates a person who is not only a stranger to truth but is also afraid of it. A person who has manufactored distorted fact from fantasey and is herself, by allowing her story to be used by the sales hunting media, a person driven by fears, inadequacy thrusting her personality to public notice and rather stupidy highlighting her personality failings via the pursuit of fallacious notoriety. She could also be rightfully accused of using her mother’s death in her grasping after fame……… Her mental health……..well thats open to the imagination

  20. Steve, they’re naturally nervous and distrusting given the abuse they’ve suffered, who wouldn’t be? I’m sure the counter-argument is that others on the other side of the debate feel the same.

    What do you suggest?

    1. Oh, for goodness sake man. Open your eyes – read how they treat anyone who disagrees with them, and the language they use. They’re not ‘nervous and distrusting’ – they mob and browbeat anyone who dissents.

      The very first time I questioned the stats on mortality – just the numbers, nothing personal about anyone – I was called ‘disgusting’ and told I was disrespecting their dead.

      And you’ve never addressed the obvious problems with JB’s stories, as far as I can remember. In common with almost all the media. Someone has to grasp that nettle, and nobody else seems to be prepared to.

      1. I have opened my eyes Steve, both of them. Are you so myopic that you don’t see it’s six of one, and half a dozen of the other? This is the problem with extreme ends of the debate spectrum. That’s why nothing is ever achieved at the extremes, it take a cooling and coming together to make progress.

      2. But it isn’t 6 vs half a dozen. Cure have incurred more back in their direction as time has passed, because of the attitude they’ve adopted, but it wasn’t always thus, and even now it’s very one-sided.

    2. They are down right hostile to the point of bullying, I have tried to have conversations a couple of times didn’t get far…it came down to playground type name calling. I’ve watched others try to have reasonable conversations same thing. I’ve also seen the “Haters List”
      which shocked me, one of my friends is on there, she is the sweetest
      person anyone could ever wish to meet she would never offend anyone and is deeply hurt that her name and details are on such a hideous list..

  21. Steve, but this is where your evidence-based approach falls down for me. In pitting Julie Bailey’s story against Mr Sutherland’s in the context you’ve chosen it supports your conclusion/theory. What you haven’t factored into the blog piece is that the Francis Report and transcripts from witnesses wider than Cure backs up the more negative version of events on that ward, and other wards and the overriding culture within Mid-Staffs at that time.

    1. David, as I’ve mentioned before I’ve read the Francis transcripts. There were undoubted problems in some areas at Stafford but A&E primarily. Ward 10, according to eyewitnesses like Mr Sutherland, was exemplary during the period in question – yet JB claims horror.

      Francis’ report doesn’t always reflect the testimony as well as it should, and as has been pointed out by others on Twitter, the relatives were not questioned under oath as they were considered too ‘fragile’ – but their complaints were treated as fact nonetheless. You’re ascribing too much to Francis, too uncritically.

  22. This story just goes to prove Stafford is a good hospital , yes it’s got it faults be who/what hasn’t , this bailey women should take a look closer to home for blame? If my mum was suffering like baileys mum was I wouldn’t just stand by and let her suffer, I would go and find a nurse or doctor , sorry for your loss Mr Sutherland , keep Stafford going people!!!

  23. I know you’ve read Francis and I know its not without its problems, what inquiry isn’t? It is the fullest, most detailed record of the challenges at Mid-Staffs that exists today, and is very explicit about the ward in question. I’m not ascribing too much to Francis, but it is the cornerstone of any evidence-based information that’s available today, you can’t dismiss it. This straw man blog trivialises the problems by making it one persons word against another. Who you believe, or who you don’t is largely irrelevant, when compared to the weight of bona fide evidence in the Francis report. I don’t doubt Mr Sutherland’s story, why would I? I just don’t think his story proves anything other than he didn’t experience the same levels of neglect that others clearly did, and others not connected to Cure clearly witnessed.

    I think it’s evens on the bitterness front, in terms of online action and reaction in any case. I absolutely see both sides, and I think you’re all the same as each other, same argument and counter-argument every time, it never moves on but surely has to?

    They say it’s easier to break than to fix. I fear the negativity of the hate campaign, and for some people it is exactly that and foolish to claim otherwise, can only be a bad thing for Stafford, the people of Stafford, the hospital and its staff. The hate campaign has already made the media and will continue to do so. It reflects badly on the town and all of it’s inhabitants. It truly saddens me and will be used against the great work the Save Stafford Hospital campaign is doing.

    We will of course agree to differ. We need to open our eyes, but perhaps remove the blinkers first, and that goes for everyone.

    1. The two levels of care supposedly received are so extreme that they simply do not describe the same ward. We’re not talking degrees here but polar opposites.

      You keep referring to ‘the hate campaign’, but there’s none such here – and no evidence of one in the town either, except Ms Bailey’s claims. It has made the media because she has claimed it, in spite of the lack of evidence – and the lack of complaint to the police or council until that was under scrutiny. Responsibility for the adverse media coverage of the town in that regard lies squarely at her door.

      You seem to find it hard to perceive what’s obvious to almost everyone else with any experience of the situation.

  24. My opinion is that it depends which ward you end up on and what staff are working. My dad has been in and out of stafford hospital and has had excellent care throughout, however my mum didn’t. Long story short ended up in hospital with pneumonia and ended up in ITU where her care was out of this world. She made excellent progress and was moved to ward 12 that’s where it all went down hill. Although pneumonia was getting better there are other issues that was concerning me, when I raised them with nurses they were not interested. She continued to deteriorate and was discharged home even though I told them I suspected she had a uti but they couldn’t get a urine sample as everyone had the norovirus and so did my mum. Eventhough she went over 12 times in one day they never out her on a drip. A I said she was discharged home, I phoned the ward outraged that she wasn’t fit enough. She was re admitted less than48 hours later with kidney failure brought on by a undetected uti! She needed ITU again but the doctor refused to treat her as she was a smoker and I have this in writing, I got a copy of her medical records!!. she passed away and I complained and they keep lying and changing their stories of what happened. It now with solicitors and I am with a group of others complaining, interesting quite a few are complaining about the same ward! I don’t agree with closing down of losing departments but I think some staff need retraining.

    1. You’re right, of course. However, Ms Bailey Sr and Mrs Sutherland were both on the same ward, within a very short space of time.

  25. Funny how this has just come up. .
    Why has Mr Sutherland not approached some major media outlet with his ‘truthful’ story, instead of a tinpot blog? Perhaps because it does not exclude what happened to Julie Bailey’s mother. .
    The NHS unions have been out to get Julie Bailey for sometime with the usual socialist zeal & balance. They will stop at nothing to deride her, even poor stories like this one.
    In fact Ms Bailey has been driven out of Stafford due to the acts & venom, of a few.
    – We seem to have carelessly forgotten about the testimony & stories of many of the other 1199 people that died unnecessarily ..
    But there you go .. .

    1. Tinpot? lmao. You’ll see more proper research and honest journalism here than in most ‘major media outlets’. Nice try, though.

      Julie Bailey has been planning to leave Stafford for about the last 18 months, to go and be with her grandchild in Dubai – where she goes regularly in spite of being supposedly penniless because of her ‘persecution’.

      As for the ‘other 1199’, now you’re just showing yourself to be an idiot. Those figures were nonsense, were not even backed by the Francis report, and have been thoroughly discredited.

      Now go and peddle your bile elsewhere, tyvm.

      1. I think Jane Kelly has made a mistake in the article you link to. Bella was put in Ward 10 by mistake when she was initially admitted to hospital. She was moved to Ward 11 later the same day where she spent the rest of her stay (My source is Julie’s book ‘From Ward to Whitehall’). I have to agree with everything written by David Banner here. Trying to traduce people like Julie Bailey is not going to help anyone. I have no axe to grind, no personal experience of good or bad care at Stafford hospital and I have never met Julie Bailey. The figures on mortality are controversial and may have become common currency through ‘churnalism’ but the sheer volume of accounts has led me to conclude that awful things must have happened there, although it was certainly possible to receive good care, depending partly on which ward you were in and partly who was on duty. I do not doubt a word Mr Sutherland says but his account does not negate everything said by others like Cure the NHS members. The main thing now is to work together so that a) we get to retain a hospital that provides a full list of services and b) that you are well looked-after once you are there.

      2. Some bad things did indeed happen, but apparently not on the wards where Ms Bailey senior was treated. Here’s how JB spoke of ward 11 to the public inquiry:

        Q. This was ward 10, I think was the first one —
        A. This was ward 10, yes.
        Q. Okay. We’re going to hear, I think, that she didn’t get her medication. In fact, she was on the wrong ward.
        15 When she did get to the next ward, the time had passed
        16 when they had the medication round and so she missed
        17 that medication.
        18 Just tell us a bit — again, briefly — about
        19 ward 10, where she wasn’t meant to be. What was your
        20 experience there?
        21 A. It was just — I could only describe it as just bleak.
        22 It was cold. It was just silent. There was just one
        23 other woman in the ward. There was no curtains. It was
        24 just freezing cold. There wasn’t a clock in the room.
        25 Q. And I think that in relation to the lady who was there,
        Page 61
        1 there was a slightly distressing incident in relation to
        2 how her lunch was dealt with.
        Q. Did the healthcare assistant who brought her food make
        11 any attempt to help her?
        12 A. She didn’t make any attempt at all. She didn’t even
        13 speak. There was not a word said when she put the tray
        14 down and when she took the tray away.
        15 Q. So what did you do?
        16 A. I just said “She hasn’t — she hasn’t eaten her food at
        17 all”. And she just — she just walked out the door, and
        18 as she was going she said “She never does”.

        That bears no relation to the description of ward 11 by Mr Sutherland, does it?

        I’ve been told exactly the same kind of thing by others about ward 11, including about JB’s expressions of gratitude to staff there – but without someone prepared to go on the record about them, I can’t publish the accounts.

        And none of this changes the deep-rooted problems with JB’s accounts of her mother’s supposed terror or what happened to others on the ward.

        I have no wish to ‘traduce’ JB, as you put it. But as long as she continues to peddle this nonsense to an eager media, the facts surrounding it need to be highlighted.

      3. Thanks for your reply to my post; I think you have typed Ward 11 a couple of times when you meant Ward 10, but anyway, my point is that it is possible that both JB and Mr Sutherland’s accounts are truthful of their relatives’ time on Ward 10. All bar a few hours of Bella Bailey’s 8-week stay in hospital was spent on Ward 11, so the answer to the question posed by the headline of this blogpost is emphatically ‘NO’, and I hope you will accept that.

        I urge you to read JB’s book – no need to buy it, request it from your local library. I certainly don’t agree with everything she says (and she is sometimes unpleasantly spiteful and catty about her adversaries) but the early chapters of the book where she describes the treatment of her mother and others on Ward 11 are harrowing but to an ‘agnostic’ about Stafford hospital like me were utterly credible.

        I you read it you would have the definitive account of what JB claims she witnessed at the hospital, rather than having to rely on bits of articles written by journos, and I think you would also feel more sympathy and empathy for JB and Cure the NHS.

  26. Steve, there’s nothing wrong with my perception. It’s a bit rich to make that statement given your circular reasoning. You are systematically trying to discredit every aspect of the Mid-Staffs scandal, namely:-

    The mortality figures (I agree with you on that)
    The witness statements (I disagree that +pe trumps -pe)
    The Francis Report 1 & 2 (I disagree that your investigations can be considered independant or without prejudice, you’re biased on the political ideology of the NHS)

    You pick out the minutia, often relying on ones word vs another. That’s not evidence that would stand up in court, not without other proof.

    Honest question for you. Do you believe, or have doubts, that Mid-Staffs was a particular problem hospital? Or do you think the scandal was always based largely on fiction, misunderstanding of data or political engineering? I’m keen to know and would respect an honest answer.

    1. Mr Banner,
      Can you please answer the question posed earlier: “How did you get on with having that discussion?” Thanks.

      1. I’ve already answered that in part. What more would you like to know?

      1. Steve, not at all. I’ve asked for you honest answer, if its neither then what is it?

      2. No, Mid Staffs was not exceptional. Yes, the story as understood by the uninformed today is largely fictional. Mid Staffs was not perfect, and a few wards had big problems. But the ‘excess’ death figures are entirely fictional. The hospital was better than average in mortality once the coding input was corrected.

        There was some poor care, but not nearly as much as has been claimed, and Ms Bailey’s claims are deeply unrealistic and problematic.

        But you know all this, or at least know that this is my position.

  27. About bloody time! Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Of course there will be vicious denials. Ho hum.

      1. I’m assuming you mean me? If not apologies. I’ve given the answer in full, or a full answer based on the question asked. Perhaps ask me me what you want to know and I’ll try and answer. Not sure what you’re driving at.

      2. I check all responses and I can’t remember you answering the question about how you got on trying to have the same discussion with JB and Cure. Perhaps you did, in which case apologies, but doesn’t ring any bells.

    1. It was a good piece but I’m still uncomfortable with any provider of a public service that believes that raising concerns is “career suicide.” All firms I’ve ever worked for have had a zero tolerance to threats of retribution from management of staff, same should apply but perhaps more so in the NHS where mistakes can have the most serious of consequences.

      1. I doubt the threats are ever explicit. And if someone lives for nursing, as that lady plainly does, who can blame someone for not wanting to lose it – especially when you’re following every possible internal avenue.

  28. An aging mother or father in a care or nursing home is often lonely, even if care is good and staffing adequate. Children may not live close & grandchildren may prefer football to visits. There are similarities with a grandparent receiving treatment in hospital, even though their stay may be shorter.

    If a right existed for families to install a video link in care/nursing homes in the room of their relative, a grandparent could ‘share’ mealtimes with grandchildren, at their parents’ discretion. If some argue this would become an excuse for fewer visits, a counter benefit is the restored & flexible family contact.

    Extra eyes able & motivated to monitor the treatment or mistreatment of a relative shouldn’t just be dismissed as intrusive, voyeuristic or open to misuse. A video system today may be made both flexible & secure.

    A system involving a ceiling corner webcam linked to the usual & ubiquitous TV can bring generations together while even helping parents at mealtimes.

    In a hospital ward, the privately swinging TV arm also might be better employed linking families & allowing close relatives to offer comfort & support remotely when jobs or children preclude frequent visits.

    A beneficial use at last for Google Glass – or an ‘age adjusted’ enhanced v2 adaptation: Google Geriscope?

  29. The recent chatter about the NHS Confed and Dubai visits have me thinking. Unless you run a campaign group solely on the Internet the group needs funds doesn’t it ? If cure have received any donated funds then where from ?

    1. No idea, but it’s a great point. Unfortunately, they won’t be subject to FOI requests – nor have to publish any accounts, since they’re not an official entity.

      1. True enough but I imagine there are still inland revenue regulations to comply with, based on additional ‘income’

      2. Ha, I doubt that’s getting declared. Then, donations might not count as income, but wouldn’t it be something if they turned out to be tax-dodging?

  30. I have to say that I am a little fed up with all the bad care denials. I had my baby there in 2005. It was a disaster from start to finish. There was blood on the floor. I was left lying in my own blood until the next day as I couldn’t get up myself to have a shower. I wasn’t given the anti d. Injection I should have been which means I am now more likely not to carry another baby to term. I am not saying it was all horrendous care but p,ease don’t forget that in trying to save the hospital we must recognise that for many people there was bad care. I heard some terrible things as I lay there so I would be much more likely to support all this if I heard realism about what was going on.

    1. Please read more carefully. Nobody is denying – or at least I’m not – that poor care happened in some parts of Stafford. That’s not in dispute.

      Even if you look at the ‘real Mid Staffs’ post that started all this off, poor care is clearly acknowledged. However, that’s a completely separate issue from whether there were hundreds of additional deaths – there weren’t – or whether Ms Bailey’s specific story stands up (it doesn’t).

      Addressing those issues is not ‘denial’. It’s simply looking at the situation more objectively.

  31. My concern is that regardless of what has been said after the event, the comments made by Mrs Bailey are seen as unassailable. It is on record that when complaints about her mothers care were made she spoke to the press and not the the Chief Executive. Clearly, she may have lacked confidence in his response but despite this repeated invitations were extended to Mrs. Bailey by subsequent Chief Executives, and Chairmen, to discuss her concerns and she decline every opportunity to express her concerns with them. I remain unclear as to whether Ms Bailey has ever spoken face to face with any Managers from the Hospital.
    With regard to the matter of the patient drinking out of a flower vase. To my knowledge I don’t believe flowers have been allowed in wards for 10 years – I may be wrong in this and will remain to be disabused if this view.
    No one would dispute that some patients did not receive the standard of care they needed, required, and deserved. The comments made by Cure the NHS opened a Pandora’s box and inevitably we will find bad practise replicated throughout the NHS.

  32. I understand that Ms Bailey is moving fro. Her rented home in Stafford to a static caravan elsewhere. Are we to understand that she is no longer living with her partner and daughter? I understand that local Councillors wish for Ms Bailey to be given the Freedom of the Borough – what are fellow bloggers views on this?

    1. There might be a couple of councillors who want that, but I suspect the majority would rather have teeth pulled! My info is that she was looking to move to Dubai, but this might have changed. The static caravan might be a publicity move – it wouldn’t surprise me.

      1. Its true that she’s been granted Freedom of the Borough
        This is a bit strange given the trouble she and her group have caused for the council.
        I find it interesting that she didn’t follow the NHS Complaints procedure in the first instance, especially since she claims to have the best interests of other patients at heart. While the procedure isn’t perfect and can be a long drawn out affair, if persisted with and at its best it does offer an opportunity to meet the staff involved and their managers and for the complainant to play a real role in improving services. A lot of CAB’s have ( or had before the cuts) specialist advocates who can help with NHS complaints right up to the Ombudsman stage. Going straight to the press suggests attention seeking and scaremongering rather than real concern for overall patient care.

      2. Wow. Well, given that at least one councillor is suing Ms Bailey for defamation, a unanimous vote tells its own story of pressure and the consequences of crossing Cure the NHS..

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