On BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, presenter Victoria Darbyshire interviewed two Stafford A&E nurses, Heather Gough and Mark Saville. The nurses gave an impassioned account of their experiences at the hospital and of its misrepresentation in the media following the leak of the now thoroughly-discredited mortality figures that bore no relation to reality.
The interview was moving and powerful. For the next week or so, you can listen to it here if you wish.
One of the most moving sections was as Ms Gough spoke of the experience of a number of nurses, who were abused, insulted and spat upon in the street because of their persistent demonisation by the media and by the self-proclaimed “patients’ group” Cure the NHS (Cure).
I’ve demonstrated a number of times on this blog how Cure is anything but the well-intentioned group it is made out to be in the media, and how it responds viciously to any dissent or contradiction.
This was demonstrated amply again today – as Julie Bailey, the group’s founder, complained to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the professional standards body for nurses and midwives, in an attempt to bring censure and disciplinary action on Ms Gough. I don’t know whether she also complained about Mr Saville, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
Ms Bailey referred to this in a tweet today:
Ms Bailey, who just a couple of days ago was trying to court Ms Gough on Twitter and to recruit her as a helper, was so outraged that Ms Gough spoke out about her experience on national radio.
Ironic that someone who is supposedly a staunch supporter of whistleblowers should be so outraged by someone’s candidness to the media that she is trying to get the nurse’s professional body to sanction a hard-working, dedicated nurse.
Fortunately, Ms Gough tells me that she has spoken to the NMC and that, as far as they’re concerned, the matter is of no interest to them unless it affects her fitness to practice – which it plainly doesn’t.
Ms Bailey is currently packing and preparing to leave Stafford – not ‘driven out’, as she has claimed, but to go for a holiday in Portugal before moving to Dubai to be with her grandchild, a move which she has been planning for over 18 months according to sources close to her:
The national media may continue to treat Ms Bailey and Cure as if the proverbial butter wouldn’t melt. But a closer, objective look at her behaviour tells a very different story. Thankfully for Ms Gough and anyone who cares about justice, she appears to have been unsuccessful in her mean and vindictive move today.