Cartoon by Pixomanic
Cartoon by Pixomanic

There are many institutions which offer to regulate the services provided for us by the government. and protect us from the misuse of power.   Most of these bodies use the words ‘to maintain public confidence’ somewhere in their primary objectives.  There is a missing word in this phrase and that is ‘trick’.  The reason that all these bodies exist is to maintain a public confidence trick that government services are regulated, giving redress to the public for wrongdoing.  They are not regulated and there is no public redress, it’s all just for show. Many people find themselves at PHSO due to negligence from the NHS.  Two-thirds of the complaints to the Ombudsman are related to NHS issues.  If that includes you then you may find some of these links useful.

NHS complaints:  The bare facts of how to make an NHS complaint are laid out here on the Citizen’s Advice website.

The Patients Association is a small, independent charity who help patients take their complaints forward.  They also produce informative reports including two which condemned PHSO as not fit for purpose.  Well worth a look round their site.

POhWER advocacywww.pohwer   These guys offer a free advocacy service.  With the complexity of the NHS complaint system using POhWER could be a good move.

AvMA  are a charity to support complainants with medical accidents, that also includes malpractice.  They have a legal team who can put you on the right track.

Will Powell’s site  tells the tragic story of his personal fight for justice through the NHS complaint system.   In 1989 his son Robbie aged 10 was admitted to hospital with critical loss of body weight and dehydration.  He had at that time undiagnosed Addison’s disease which is completely treatable.  Due to failures at the hospital and later with GPs, the appropriate tests were not given and Robbie died four months later from severe dehydration.  This was a totally avoidable death.  Will Powell then started a 27-year campaign to achieve justice for his son, which has taken him through every regulatory body and law process available.  He has found clear evidence of an NHS cover-up and the falsification of records, but in 2000, when the case came to The European Court of Human Rights they determined that,

”As the law stands now, doctors have no duty to give parents of a child, who died as a result of their negligence, a truthful account of the circumstances of the death.  Nor even to refrain from deliberately falsifying records.”

Will started a campaign called ‘Robbie’s Law’ which would make a ‘duty of candour’ a legal requirement.  It would then be against the law for anyone within the NHS to lie or falsify records. Finally, in November 2014 a new ‘Duty of Candour’ and the ‘Fit and Proper Person Test’ became law.  This legislation is still bedding down in the NHS and to date, there have been no test cases to ascertain its effectiveness.

If you are currently making a complaint about the NHS, then you may find this page how-to-get-help  from Will Powell’s site particularly useful.

Joanna Slater has a blog and a website which details the story of her own mother’s poor treatment in an NHS hospital and also records the stories of many others.  It may help to know that you are not alone and there are a number of useful links on her blog.  You can find her at If you are trying to come to terms with the loss of a child The Compassionate Friends charity do a lot of good work supporting grieving families. One man tries to put into words the tragedy of losing a son followed by the frustrating 8 year ordeal of seeking justice through the regulatory system, including PHSO.