If something like this wrongfully happens to you... what CAN you do?
The above is a very difficult question to answer. Firstly you might write to the doctors responsible but they simply insist it's 'not their problem' even though everything is stacked up against them. Then you might write to the hospital? From Pat's own experience they can seem pretty useless too - for example a letter sent recorded delivery to the Royal Stoke University Hospital took well over three weeks to get ANY response... basically it can seem like they will fob you off every way they can. However, apparently the complaint letter although delivered and signed for on around the 10th January 2017 was 'lost' and reportedly never treated as a complaint until many weeks later.
So what can I do?
Unfortunately there are only a few options available to you to take any complaint forward.
You could try the legal stance... no win no fee route, but often those companies will not take on your case (for a multitude of reasons) simply because work is involved. That is not really recommended because if your complaint did not firstly involve financial compensation then the no win no fee company might well not be interested. There is, however, one little known fact about those companies that could offer a very small glimmer of hope. If you have house insurance (the patient) and you have a 'legal expenses' option included then sometimes no win no fee companies can claim their costs from the house insurance legal fee cover! It could make your life very much easier so next time you baulk at that small extra cost for 'legal cover' on your house insurance just remember how useful in a really bad situation it could be!
Or you could contact bodies ultimately owned by the NHS and government themselves...such as NHS England (if you are in England of course) but those institutions change if you have a complaint against a GP surgery or a Hospital. The family in this case contacted NHS England that could handle the case because BOTH the GP AND the Hospital were allegedly involved. Worse still though (and it could be a bitter pill to swallow), you are asking the Government and the NHS to effectively 'police' themselves and we all know where that might lead.
Please remember NHS England IS the NHS themselves and while we have yet to find out whether their actions are commensurate with fairness and a true representation of Pat's care and treatment they appear at first communications to have a 'want' to help with what seems like an unbiased attitude. The family remain skeptical until they see the outcome of the complaint.
UPDATE: NHS England, North Midlands, Birch House, Ransom Wood Business park, Southwell Road West, Mansfield Nottingham, NG21 0HJ. Tel: 0113 824 7278. They were very helpful at first. Unfortunately as soon as the GP wrote back to the complainants directly, NHS England could not (according to NHS England) pursue a complaint that had been 'investigated'. Scarily, NHS England said that the reply from the GP was an 'investigation'! Clearly it is not and it seems that the mechanism of the GP 'replying' to the complainant (the family) could be seen as a way of stopping NHS England from investigating further. Note that in this case NHS England WAS THE PAYMASTER of the GP's.
You could contact the UK press such as the Daily Mail that occasionally show scandal within the NHS and/or GP organizations but sometimes unless your 'story' is of substantial national news quality and not a 'regional' story (as assessed by them) then they might well be very reluctant to help.
You might contact your MP but sometimes its likely to fall on deaf ears because some politicians are often fixated on either their own pockets or London only. There are exceptions and if the family does move forward and get ANY support from any MP we will be the first to let readers know. Has anyone ever found a politician that can actually tell things the way they really are? AND even if you found one, could that politician really change anything? We shall see.
You might have a video as disturbing as the one on this website and YouTube of Patricia 'telling it the way it really was' and you might send it to 10 downing street with a very heartfelt letter asking Teresa May (or other Prime Minister) to 'take a look' at what is really going on in the NHS today maybe through cost cutting etc. The PM might learn something, but maybe not. In this sad time for the NHS with cost cutting (no matter what government tend to say) it is likely that government are well aware of the results. There is no doubt that some GP's and hospitals are really good and many have had a great experience with GP's and hospitals there is no doubt, but it seems the ones that Patricia had the pleasure of more often than not were the ones that were not always helpful. Maybe SOMEONE will respond but the family thinks not.
There are a multitude of other 'NHS' based and charity based 'advice' organizations, but no matter what you find you can be sure that every single step of the way that you might well find a reluctance of some of them to help. Furthermore, the 'complaints' systems appear to be made so difficult that it will be hard for any lay person to fathom. Even the most cursory information is not forthcoming in any way that is simply understood by a layman. A simple example of some of the nonsense that goes on is that if you 'buy' the patient records from the GP (at a cost of up to £50) then if a hospital is involved then believe it or not you will have to pay the hospital in question up to another £50 for their patient records and if more than one hospital where the 'data controllers' are different (it happens!) then each and every series of records can cost you up to £50 per set and they are all different!. No one anywhere will tell you that the GP patient records and the hospital patient records are completely separate. And that's just one example and the issues go on and on.
So what is left?
Actually unless you have some very professional abilities on the internet and/or YouTube then there are not too many other options left.
Pat was compelled to tell the public
Fortunately for Pat, members of her family have had extensive experience both with internet websites AND YouTube as a platform for promoting any subject right in to the public's attention.
There is absolutely no doubt that adverse publicity affects GP doctors and the hospitals involved - indeed the North Staffs Royal Infirmary (remember them!) changed it's name to the Royal Stoke University Hospital after a horrendous scandal at Stafford Hospital which made national news for some substantial period of time.
Pat's case was never really about 'compensation' but she could understand that some families will need financial compensation if a loved one dies for example through problems that should not exist at the GP's or the NHS.
Pat instructed the family to pursue those organizations until they admitted that they were allegedly wrong regarding both the diagnosis by the GP and the hospitals until 6th November 2016, the way she was allegedly treated subsequently AND to ensure those organizations apologized and accepted blame for the terrible mistakes and way she was treated throughout.
However, the family has now decided to pursue financial compensation since learning about Pat being allowed to fall and injure herself while at the Bradwell Hospital after a serious operation on her spine. That is plain and simple negligence. There is no excuse for that type of 'care' no matter how big an organization is. It is a failing of the doctors and the NHS and will be pursued further to get to the bottom of what Patricia confirmed in her video. Any money gained will go directly to a charity of the family's choice and not for the benefit of the family in any way. The family does not want money - it wants the truth.
But this website and YouTube video by Pat herself shortly before her demise should instill in to any reader that something MUST be done to stop the tragic way in which families may well be torn apart because their loved ones have been misdiagnosed and treated less than the standards dictated by the NHS and government and substantially less than any reasonable person would ever expect. They MUST answer for their 'issues' and be answerable when care is less than exceptional. Anything else is a mockery of the public.
Learn from Pat's own words in her video and please tell as many people as you can about Pat and her message to others.