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Poor care 'still haunts campaigner'


Campaigner Julie Bailey said she still lies awake at night haunted by the poor care her mother suffered at the hands of the NHS.

Ms Bailey, whose mother Bella died in 2007 at Stafford Hospital, questioned whether the hospital managers also suffered sleepless nights after the scandal.

She said the NHS must work to restore the public’s trust in the health service in the wake of the public inquiry into the serious failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

The inquiry, which published its final report in February, found that hundreds of patients were maltreated at the trust between 2005 and 2009.

Previous reports into the care failings estimated that as many as 1,200 patients may have died needlessly while being treated there.

Patients were left in their own excrement for days, given the wrong medication and some were forced to drink water out of vases.

Speaking at a leadership conference at The King’s Fund Ms Bailey, who set up Cure the NHS after her mother’s death, said: “I am here because of failure in leadership.

“This failure ripped through the heart of the NHS and it allowed hundreds to die and suffer.

“It was not overnight, it was prolonged and throughout the whole system.

“Not a day goes by where I don’t go to bed at night and I lie thinking what I should have done differently, I lie there thinking about the suffering I witnessed.

“Do you think the managers who allowed that to happen lie awake at night hoping they have done things better?

“I am not alone. I am one of many throughout the NHS who have been failed by a lack of leadership. They too continue to suffer what happened to their loved ones whilst in the care of the NHS.

“Our lives are affected forever and they will be until we feel safe in the knowledge that others won’t suffer like our loved ones did.

“What happened at Mid Staffs was a failure in leadership from ward to board and on to Whitehall.

“Managers failed and then refused to accept responsibility. Instead of there being accountability for those failings, some have been promoted and gone on to bigger and better things - what signal does that send to others in the NHS that you can fail and yet you will be rewarded for those failings?”

Ms Bailey called for “radical change” in the health service and urged leaders to promote a culture of honesty, to nurture their own staff, to work to integrate care systems and to embrace the health reforms, adding: “We need to move forward and embrace them the best we can.”

Ms Bailey said that now is the time to “champion the patient”.

She also called for those who fail to be held accountable, adding: “Without accountability we will allow a small pool to blight the NHS.”


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Readers' comments (6)

  • With a Trust sponsored NMC FTP action on my back, my original precipitatating complaints of clinical malpractices have finally been acknowldged by a previously reluctant Safeguarding and CQC to a level two although they still havnt asked for a statement and Ive no idea whose investigating so I guess it'll be another "well all the documentation was in place and up-to-date..." response. Meanwhile I continue to take time off to attend FTP hearings repeating my compelling story to new NMC panellists who trundle in and out with their breifcase trolleys and who all look simultaneously to the legal rep for advice about what to do next, advice which is always the same...continue of course! (Well its all good work).

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  • The Prime Minister's speech to Parliament on the Mid Staffs Public Inquiry included the line: “There were patients so desperate for water that they were drinking from dirty flower vases.” For the record, there was no mention of vases in Robert Francis's Public Inquiry report. Also for the record, there was a mention of vases in Robert Francis’s first Independent Inquiry report in 2010. The mention was thus: “As it happened I did not hear any direct evidence about any incident involving vases. Such an incident is not directly reported in the Healthcare Commission report. I am therefore unable to express a conclusion about whether this occurred or not.”

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  • Re 3.28pm
    Thank you for this information, I did suspect this was the case.
    Yet another slur to the nursing profession from this disgusting government who seem hell bent on denigrating the nursing workforce. Probably to keep salaries low and make us feel unworthy.

    Yet another urban myth blown out of proportion and used as "fact" by our snivelling, rotten government.

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  • michael stone

    One of today's papers says that Julie Bailey is going to leave Stafford, having been hounded out by other locals who 'blame her for threatening the future of the local hospital' (my words) - the poor woman has clearly gone through hell !

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  • This is now 2013' while no human being cannot be appalled by what was supposed to have gone on at mid staffs it is 8 years on. Trusts need to take a long hard look at the matron role, we would love to be out on the wards more supervising, supporting, impacting on direct care, challenging, leading the nursing profession but where are we? In the office attending 100's of emails, ticking boxes, signing off orders online as the ward managers could not have possibly be trusted o order the stationary, answering complaints about canceled ops, waiting lists, consultants attitudes, checking that all an d sundry has done friends and family tests. Huge patches that prove impossible to manage properly , making sure that we dont dare be to proactive in case it costs money. Chasing beds and answering why you have not used the discharge lounge for some elderly patients for whom the length of stay has been pushed back so far they can just about get of bed. All in the name efficiency; this is part of the problem,unless investment is made to re look at he devolved responsibilities we will continue to be onto a loser to shape (not change as we know how to care for patients)the face of frontline nursing. We have got to stop living in the past, but not forget, ensure that every hospital delivers good care to be proud of, ensure we are adequately staffed and also manage patient /families expectations. Your relative will not get immediate care when they ring the bell, you will be encouraged to help with feeding and caring and why s that? Because wards are now full if dependent patients, no patients are able to help with the tea trolley, they are too ill or frail, and there are only so many nurses to go round, bad as it sounds that is how it is with only so much money to pay the bills. Think of what we could have done with the money the Francis report cost............telling us about things that went on in 2005 - 2009; this is 2013.

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  • Anonymous | 27-May-2013 7:08 am

    Well said regarding the Matron role in hospitals - they should be on the wards working alongside the nurses and ensuring best practice. The same goes for ward sisters too. they are in the office foillowing the orders from the matrons in regards to audits completed, friends & family questionnaires. Unles one of you (or all of you) stand up to your managers nothing is going to change. In my opinion there are too many matrons on high pay doing what is basically an admin role and passing on instructions from their managers. I am sure someone on a lower pay could collect audits etc thus leaving money for more ward staff.

    In relation to looking forward not backward - I have mixed feelings. yes we need to move on, but without knowing the details of the problems at mid-stafford nothing would chnage. Where were the matrons who were looking at the complaints at mid-staff? Why didn't they act? Why didn't they speak up? The culture needs to change. We still hold remebrance day in an effort to not forget & to learn what happened in the World Wars (and many others since) - hence the Francis Report is also there as a reminder.

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