PHSO Seminar; we talked, they listened, what next?

As members of the Pressure Group prepared for the seminar the news broke of the devastating case of the Morrish family and their scathing opinion of the PHSO investigation process.  It was all over breakfast t.v. and then again on radio 4 when John Humphrys put some rather probing questions to Dame Julie Mellor. (  starts @ 2.48) So this was the backdrop to our seminar and possibly the reason for the last minute shift away from Millbank Tower to the more obscure territory of EC1.

I must say from the outset that we were listened to and we were heard. 

IFF, the customer survey people ran the meeting and were flexible and accommodating.  Although we could have used more time, we were not rushed and all participants felt valued.  We split into two groups and the young man from IFF who led our table started off with the cheery smile of a children’s t.v. presenter.  As the stories unfolded his head sunk gradually lower and his smile waned.  Could this all be true?  Are people really treated with such contempt for the truth?  Although each of our stories are unique, they followed a familiar pattern of denial of the evidence, flawed decision making, failure to answer difficult questions and an inability to put the record straight.  The raw pain of those re-lived experiences soon surfaced through the everyday veneer; voices struggled to be heard through the clog of emotion which caught in the throat and tears were openly shed.

Unresolved injustice is an open wound.  

When the two groups gathered again to review the key themes another young chap from IFF read out a catalogue of poor complaint handling which could rival Schindler’s list.

  • System favours organisations
  • Evidence from public bodies taken at face value
  • No opportunity for redress, can’t put things right
  • Not enough cases get through
  • Systems favours professionals
  • Too much emphases on small details and not the big picture.
  • No advocacy for complainants
  • Not a clear process of how cases are assessed.
  • Lacks independence and objectivity.
  • Anonymous clinical advisors
  • Lack of independent clinical advice
  • Cover up of state fraud or corruption
  • Concerns on time lines – slow process
  • Lack of openness and transparency
  • Lack of  alignment to principles of care
  • Lack of accountability

IFF now compile a report to which we will all have access, then we have called for a follow up meeting to discuss the way forward.  This seminar marks the beginning of our journey with PHSO and not the end.  Despite our concerns that we didn’t say just what we meant to or in the way that we intended;  the impact of so much human pain in one room was inescapable.  As one PHSO employee said as we waited for the lift together after the meeting,

‘It’s different when you see the people’.


9 thoughts on “PHSO Seminar; we talked, they listened, what next?

  1. Dear Della, I’m sorry I could not be there as explained previously, but it seems to have been a great success. The comment you end on by PHSO Officer “It’s different when you see the people”. is the whole reason we set up our website ‘Alice through the broken Glass’ to show people the truth. Let them see the consequences of their actions, and the struggle people have. In other words ‘to hold up a mirror to themselves’ and let others be aware of what is really going on.

  2. You know I wanted to be with you, sorry I wasnt, best wishes,

    Wish that they had seen my face and me theirs.

  3. We are meeting the Health Minister on 9 July and the former Health Minister on 3 July. We will certainly update them both on what’s been happening. Meanwhile, please ask all your members to email Mail on Sunday who is keen to write story on how the Health Ombudsman tries to “gag” victims who want to go to the press or how the rejection letters are “cut and pasted”. The victims who have had these experiences can email the Medical Correspondent at Mail on Sunday, his email address is:

  4. It was a great day and a great effort by all. Best quote from the day “This seminar marks the beginning of our journey with PHSO and not the end”.

    Personally I think it is high time some whistleblowers stepped up and did the right thing. My case proved that the CSA failed to meet the ‘basic principles’ of the Child Support Act 1991 and a child lost his legal right to paternal support, of up to £15,600, while a father’s ‘duty to maintain’ was removed by the CSA actions.

    Despite evidencing that mine is not an isolated case of similar legislative abuse by the CSA, the only consequence to these facts is my own four-year journey to see the CSA held to account. On 27th June 2014, the PHSO confirmed that the CSA will not be held to account for their proven legal breaches of the Child Support Act – an Act which they are employed to execute.

    I will admit that I struggled to be civil to representatives of the PHSO on the 26th June who cannot fail to be aware that the most fundamentally flawed of public services are being condoned, by them, for breaking the law. I highlighted the facts to them personally in London on the 26th of June and on the 27th, they confirmed to me that they stand by their decisions. In my humble opinion this means they actively contribute to a flawed, corrupt and abusive society, and I am sickened by what I have learned.

    • You are right Nicola, the whitewash letters keep coming and many in the group have received disappointing news this week. The Ombudsman herself and her legal advisor Anne Harding condoned law breaking in my case. The Ombudsman is not above the law and yet regularly allows other public bodies to act with impunity and ignore statutory regulations. That makes PHSO law breakers and corrupts the purpose for which they exist.

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