STAFFORD health campaigners will stand in silence outside a Manchester NHS meeting to register their anger no one has been held to account for the disaster at Stafford Hospital.
Members of Cure the NHS, whose campaign helped expose failings in care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, will protest outside the headquarters of the NHS Commissioning Board and call for the resignation of NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson over his role in the scandal.
Founder of the group Julie Bailey said: “We watched our loved ones suffer and lost them under terrible conditions – we have those memories for ever and some people have to live with the harm that was caused to them forever.
“We thought the Conservative Government gave us the Public Inquiry to help to ensure that others do not suffer as our loved ones did and had a genuine concern that up to 1200 people had lost their lives unnecessarily,” she said. “Imagine our shock when we heard that Robert Francis believed there should be no accountability for the disaster and the Government agreed with him.”
Ms Bailey said she could not sit back and allow that to happen.
“What sort of signal would this send not only to those working within the NHS but also to society itself?” she said. “The wrong signal, that says that people can be harmed and no one will have to answer for those failings.
“We are talking real people here who have lived and loved. People who have suffered but we must ensure that suffering hasn’t been in vain.”
She said the call for Sir David to resign was not about making him a scapegoat but reflected what she felt was his ultimate responsibility as leader of the NHS and also the direct role he played in the disaster at Stafford Hospital.
“We heard he played an important role in pushing through the Government recent health reforms and that’s why he’s being defended by this Government,” she said. “In the last few days David Cameron said he’d saved the NHS money but it’s hardly a glowing endorsement while patients are dying of neglect in our NHS.”
She urged people to support the group’s campaign by joining the protest or contacting their MP to urge them to join the call for Sir David’s resignation.
“We are not scapegoating but holding someone to account who has failed,” she said. “A failure of such magnitude that hundreds have lost their lives and suffered in a hospital that should have cared.”
The meeting of the Commissioning Board will take place between 10am and 1pm at 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester.