In response to the Gosport Inquiry findings, the Patients Association released the following headline:
Gosport War Memorial Hospital:
Patients Association expresses shock at
For many years the Patients Association have been listening to people who have lost loved ones through avoidable NHS neglect who report to them on a daily basis the difficulties of pursuing their complaint against a body which uses legal might and a lack of transparency to deny justice and learning. So why the ‘shock’ and why no mention of the role played by the Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) who once again has failed to alert the authorities to a crisis which lasted more than a decade? The Gosport Inquiry will deliver many words and many promises but who will actually deliver the change?
You can read the full Patients Association press release here
The response of PHSOtheFACTS member Nicholas Wheatley can be read below.
Dear Ms Power,
We read with interest your statement about the Gosport War Memorial Hospital scandal and the shock you felt at the number of lives cut short. You state:
“we should pay tribute to the tenacity and determination of the families who stood by their belief that things were not as they should be, even when the NHS was telling them otherwise”
Our pressure group, PHSOtheFACTS, has been campaigning for several years for reform of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which has been described as not fit for purpose by the Patients Association itself. Many of our members, whose loved ones have suffered avoidable or unexplained deaths, have the same “tenacity and determination”you praise in the Gosport families, and the same belief that “things were not as they should be, even when the NHS was telling them otherwise”.
You also stress “the effects of such serious betrayals of trust, first in the improper care itself and then again in the way the NHS closed ranks against them”Our members have experienced the same betrayals of trust, compounded by the failure of the Health Ombudsman to take their concerns seriously or to investigate their complaints thoroughly and impartially. You will be aware that a number of the Gosport families took their complaints to the Ombudsman and were badly let down when their cases were not upheld.
You state “When patients and their families raise concerns in future they must be properly listened to and given full and open answers”.
Sir Robert Francis QC, President of the Patients Association stated:
“Once again we hear of a lack of transparency which left the truth hidden” and “in future when serious concerns are raised they are properly examined in investigations in which patients and families can play a full part”
Our members are only too aware of the “lack of transparency”, “the truth hidden”, not being “properly listened to” or “given full and open answers” in the complaints process.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is the final tier of the complaints process and yet it fails hundreds of complainants every year by failing to investigate their complaints properly or to take their concerns seriously. We believe that it is of vital importance that the Ombudsman is reformed so that it becomes a service that acts on behalf of the public to hold public bodies to account. The existence of a properly functioning Ombudsman would represent a major step forward in patient safety. No Trust or doctor currently need fear the threat of “taking a complaint to the Ombudsman”. That must change.
Since the resignation of your predecessor Katherine Murphy, the Patients Association has ceased campaigning for Ombudsman reform and has also ceased to engage with us or indeed to reply to any of our requests for help. If you are indeed serious in your comments about the failures at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the associated investigations, then please let us know that you will be willing to help us in our campaign for Ombudsman reform. It may help prevent a repeat of the terrible events at Gosport.
This letter will be published on our website and we look forward to your reply.
This is a great site, only found it today. Thank you
Thank you Nicholas, my feelings captured, and many others.
Thanks Nicholas for posting this. It captures the realisation of a complainant when it becomes clear that despite the hype there will be scant scrutiny or support to be found.
It is rare to find anybody who has been content or satisfied by a P.H.S.O. investigation. I gave evidence to the P.A.C.A.C. Parliament committee on July 4th. 2016.
Still nothing has happened almost two years later.
National disgrace , and national cover up, at every level for start to finish.
Three damning reports written by the “Patients Association” under the leadership of Katherine Murphy, were excellent.
But Members of Parliament on the PACAC committee chose to totally ignore them
The PHSO itself wrote damning reports about discharge from NHS hospital errors.
Members of Parliament on PACAC committee ignored them as well.
The expression “banging your head on a brick wall ” comes to mind. The only result is a headache and even more distress. as these people in elected office continue to ignore problems which are repeatedly brought to their attention
Spot on Nicholas. Some of these organisations, MPs and others suddenly get interested when cases get media attention. Until that time not quite sure what they are doing to help bereaved families, and those left with long lasting or permanent harm, to get acknowledgement of the truth. Perhaps they will respond and enlighten us. As you have said – why surprised?
Agree with the comments above, the Patients Association did nothing for me personally either and also asked me to donate to them so they could ‘help others the way they had helped me’. Therefore they are another organistion feeding the pr illusion that there is help available for a patient who runs into dire problems and getting paid to do so.
Sadly the “Patients Association” is yet another lobby group without teeth.
It is up the them members of the Patient Association to direct the executive to do something about these issues…
There is little point in attacking them if they have no more authority to act than a P.A. L S. or Healthwatch organisation which are also nationwide but have no teeth in law.
The Patients Association were a lot more active with Katherine Murphy in charge. They produced three damning reports into the failure of PHSO.
You say it all Nicolas.
For many years I have been asking PA for help with my son’s many complex issues. I have received no help at all.
I do receive request to fill in forms for ‘consultation’ or send money!
Sadly the public do not know how NHS senior manages work until they need to, and it’s too late then. Media will not cover these sad stories till they are a major crises, then they feed of them!
PA another organisation feeding off peoples grief and doing nothing to help in the long run. I see no changes. But never mind keep them in business, just send the money!
Patients Association, I challenge you to come on board with PHSOthefacts and lets see the changes we can make.
You are absolutely right Nicholas.
Hear, hear, Nicholas. Patients Association seems to be all mouth and trousers. They are like the PHSO in some ways, writing public reports proclaiming about NHS failures but doing nothing about it. We are tired of reports, we want action. Patients Association also often don’t even reply to emails asking for help, yet are keen to ask people to respond to their calls for information. What’s the point of information if all that comes out of it is another report indignant at failings but then everything continues the same? Why are NHS bodies trusted so wholeheartedly when we all know the NHS is full of negligent liars who will bad together to cover-up no matter what? Patients are treated contemptuously by the whole complaints process, having to provide evidence of a level that would stand up in a court of law, yet NHS bodies are simply believed without having to provide any! We demand change now! And Patients Association should start standing up for the patients it claims to represent with more than just words.