ANGRY campaigners stood in silence outside a Manchester meeting today to call for the resignation of health boss Sir David Nicholson.
The NHS chief executive has come under pressure following the publication of the Francis Report earlier this month into serious failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Sir David was chief executive of the strategic health authority responsible for overseeing the trust during the period of the scandal.
Julie Bailey, founding member of Cure the NHS group, said they wanted to make Sir David take responsibility and stand down by protesting outside the Piccadilly Place offices.
“We are standing here as grieving relatives who have campaigned for the truth,” said Ms Bailey, who set up the group after her mother Bella died at Stafford Hospital in 2007.
“So many people have lost their lives unnecessarily on Sir David Nicholson’s watch.
“Nothing will change while he is in charge. We need a leader to galvanise.
“People resign when they are at fault so he should do the decent thing so that we can start to cure the NHS and make it how it used to be.”
Armed with placards, the campaign group left Stafford at 6.30am to travel up to Manchester to the meeting of the NHS Commissioning Board and show their displeasure at the chief executive’s continued involvement in the NHS.
With two members given permission to sit in on the board meeting, the remaining 18 camped outside to carry out their protest.
One of those was John James, 72, from Stone, who insisted change was needed if the NHS was to recover and become safer for everyone.
“We have got to see this through in order to create a safer NHS,” said Mr James, one of many members to have joined the Stafford trust to try to help improve things.
“This is not the man to see those changes through. He has just proven he is not the man for the job.
“There’s no will there to improve things or move forward. We are not going to get anywhere, there needs to be a change.”
In spite of increasing criticism, Sir David received the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron last week.
Speaking to reporters in India, Mr Cameron said the NHS chief should not be held to blame over the report.
He said: “I read that section of the report very carefully about the regional health authority and him, and I read what was said about scapegoats and I don't think he should be made a scapegoat for what went wrong in Mid-Staffordshire.
“He has apologised. He has said there are lessons to learn. He wants the NHS to learn them.”
The NHS Commissioning Board declined to comment when asked about the protest and position of Sir David Nicholson.