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Stafford Hospital scandal - the personal stories
Julie Bailey
Julie Bailey from Cure the NHS campaigned for a public inquiry

Hundreds of families have been shocked and dismayed by the revelations about the failings at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2008.

During those years there were hundreds of deaths more than expected. A report from the Healthcare Commission laid the blame on "appalling" emergency care.

But what of the staff, families and friends who witnessed the tragedy?

Here, many of those affected talk of their distress, their horror, and their determination to set things right.

BBC Radio Stoke reporter Chris King and BBC Radio Stoke Breakfast Show presenter Pete Morgan asked many of those involved for their personal stories.

For more details, see: BBC coverage: Stafford Hospital scandal

Julie Bailey

Julie Bailey set up the Cure The NHS campaign group after her mother Bella died in Stafford Hospital.

She was shocked by the treatment her mother received, and found out she was not the only one with concerns.

It took three years of campaigning, but finally, a full public inquiry got underway in November 2010.

She believes that nurses weren't being allowed to do their jobs because they were being bogged down with other priorities.

She has also called for the an overhaul of the complaints system, saying it is not working.

Robin Bastin

Robin Bastin leaked the minutes of a private meeting about hospital infections. He contacted the Healthcare Commission.

An inspection they did in November 2006 resulted in a letter telling management that they were impressed by moves to improve the situation. But Robin was then told by a senior member of staff that "infection control in that hospital is dire".

It was not until the beginning of 2008 that a full investigation was finally launched into the standards of care there.

June Locke

June's daughter Jane died in July 2006, aged just 46. She had been to Stafford Hospital several times with stomach problems; she also developed cancer, which was later operated on. She contracted C-difficile, MRSA, and streptocochal - which it is thought was what eventually killed her.

It took 14 months for her inquest, and June says that when it did, they had nobody to advise them on what to do.

The eventual verdict was accidental death - but she said she was not happy with that either because she felt Jane had been neglected.

"It's been a tragedy for Stafford and people don't realise that. This is our hospital - we are responsible, up to a point, in making sure that these people aren't able to do all this harm they've done," said June.

Deb Hazeldine

Deb Hazeldine described how her life was destroyed by the death of her mother.

Deb's mum Ellen was admitted to Stafford Hospital in July 2006 after having a fall at home. She contracted a hospital superbug which, it is believed, led to her death.

Furthermore, there was a mix up at the hospital mortuary in which the undertakers were handed forms saying that Ellen's body was highly infectious, so people should not be allowed to see her.

In the end, Deb, her father and her brother did see her - but only for a few minutes when she was in a body bag.

Terry Deighton

Terry Deighton told the inquiry that he was sent a threatening letter after he went to the press about the failings at the hospital.

Mr Deighton had been a member of the Public & Patient Involvement forum - a group which was supposed to be keeping an eye on the hospital. He says he became so frustrated by the group's lack of action over his concerns that he quit and decided to go public.

He says after speaking to the press that he received a letter from solicitors representing the hospital telling him that if he went anywhere near the site he could be prosecuted. He also said he received two more, which insinuated that if he didn't "haul (his) comments in he'd find himself in trouble".

Sandra Whitehouse

Giving evidence about the death of her mother to the public inquiry, Sandra Whitehouse said that she was ashamed of the NHS.

Sandra said that her mum Joan received just one day of care in four weeks - and that was the day she died. She says that she was ignored by staff, who didn't give her anything to drink, despite knowing that she needed help.

She wrote several letters to the then Chief Executive Martin Yeates, but she told the hearing it was easier to get hold of "the Lord Himself". When the report on Joan's death finally came back, she said she was not satisfied because all the measures they were apparently going to take should already have been in place.


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