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on 19 December 2014
A raw and gritty account of an ordinary woman who finds herself unexpectedly watching her mum and other innocent people subjected to the cruelty and neglect meted out by so-called carers in the NHS and let down by a system which isn't tailored to the needs of the patient. The helplessness of people who find themselves in this situation is very strongly conveyed. The shock, horror and frustration of discovering that no-one in charge of the NHS wants to hear about these things or do anything to change it is palpable in the pages of the book. She is an incredibly brave woman who sacrificed her reputation and years of her life to selflessly fight for decent and deserved care for all patients from doctors and nurses in the NHS. Everyone in Britain should read this book as anyone could find themselves in the same situation.
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on 30 July 2013
I am currently training as a student nurse although this is a harrowing tale and something that i will remember and take into account throughout my career i would like to say i have worked in some amazing wards and had the pleasure of working and learning under some great people. Yes we cannot deny some terrible things happened at this hospital but i want people too know there are many more caring nurses, doctors, HCA's and other healthcare workers who do care and want to help build back up the great image NHS myself and fellow students included
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on 9 May 2015
This book was very badly written. There was a lack of punctuation, people being introduced when they had just been mentioned three pages earlier (see pages 57 and 60). Also, a subject would be introduced then would go off track for a couple of pages before coming back to the subject (see page 243 to 245). However the most annoying aspect was the personal attacks on virtually everyone who crossed paths with the writer such as 'scruffy looking', 'a nose that is a bit large for her face', 'stinking of hair get and cheap aftershave', 'an oily type'. This did not endear me to the writer. The days on the ward seemed to be filled with hours spent looking for staff whilst on nights the patients couldn't sleep for the noise the staff made. I have no doubt there were problems at Mid Staffs and the battle with management and the powers that be were predictable. A book needed to be written but this is not it. Interesting that it is self published.
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on 26 September 2014
As a nurse I feel it hard to accept that care or lack of care could be carried out whatever the staffing. I believe care and time is free and if a nurse can not provide this their is a failing. I see shortages everyday but that does not excuse poor care communication and people thinking they hold all power looking down on patients and their loved ones. But the book is right you see lack of care across the nhs which is sad as it. Should be the best care in the world for all walks of life. Britain set up a first class care system second to none yet we are risking this by becoming to focused on targets instead of people and their basic needs.
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on 13 February 2013
This is a must read for anyone with concerns about the NHS. The author has writen a detailed, factual and, I believe, accurate account of her experiences trying to help an ailing parent in hospital - and it is horrific!! Neither Labour nor Conservatives emerge with any credit so far in tackling a national institution employing over a million people which is quite obviously not fit for purpose. Whilst Stafford hospital is an appalling case, I am sure there are many other hospitals which are little better.

The author is quite right - only a root and branch cleanout of leadership from the very top stands any chance of changing the culture - and should be instigated immediately.

Without first hand knowledge you could not possibly invent some of the stories she tells of patients forced to get drinking water from flower vases,nurses using NHS computers to access Ebay (& God knows what else) at night when they should be checking the welfare of their patients or hiding behind health and safety regulations to prevent worried relatives feeding their loved ones.

Where, we ask are all the regulators - those responsible for insuring patients are treated with consideration and dignity? Is anyone in charge? Jerry Robinson was absolutely right - we need brilliant, dedicated leaders at the very top to start instilling a compassionate and caring culture - one which puts the patient first, second and third. Leaders for whom it is a vocation - not just a very financially rewarding sinecure! This is an institution run, primarily, for the benefit of those employed.

Of course there are some wonderful, dedicated people in the NHS - Angels as she terms them - but in many hospitals they must find it extremely difficult to accept the attitudes and behaviour of their colleagues.
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on 10 February 2013
This is a deeply moving story of a woman's experience, her devastating experience of institutional callousness and casual cruelty by her NHS hospital, certain staff and managers. It is also the story of a determined pursuit of justice and change for the better of all the people responsible for contributing to her mothers mistreatment and that of many, many others.

A powerful example of an individual gathering a group of people with similar experiences and saying "enough!"
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on 14 October 2013
As an nhs worker myself I was encouraged to read this by my manager . It was hard to put it down somewhat differcult reading, it has helped me understand that the patients perspective is so different from that if my own and has stirred up my passion for improving the patients experience
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on 22 January 2013
i liked this book because it is only 1 of very few books that expose what is really going on in NHS hospitals
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on 17 December 2012
"From Ward to Whitehall" is not an easy read for anyone with an ounce of empathy or compassion.

The first half tells of Julie Bailey's struggle to look after her mother, Bella, during an eight-week stay in hospital, up to the time of Bella's death, basically from appalling care and neglect.

The second half tells of Julie's search for answers to how it was allowed to happen, for an apology, for information, and her fight to ensure that such lack of care and neglect that Bella suffered should stop.

The obstruction, antagonism and lack of sympathy from the hospital, its managers and regulatory authorities is awful. She fought bureaucracy, entrenched attitudes, hospital-generated spin and corruption (and is still fighting) with amazing fortitude. It is not enough to call her brave for what she has done thus far, as she tells several times how she just wanted out, how she couldn't face some battles, being physically sick at the thought of what she had to do. But bravery is the desire to run, to hide, to give up and yet overcoming those urges and still carrying on, even in the face of the threatening phone calls, poison-pen letters and death threats that she received. It is for that that Julie deserves the highest praise imaginable.

The book is highly emotional - I almost expected to find the splotch-marks of her tears on the pages, if not mine. It is hard-hitting, factual and compelling. And it's a story that is far from over.

The book is written in a style that is clearly Julie's own - no smart London editor has been allowed at it. At first I found the grammatical errors and lack of style irritating, but very quickly realised that, had it been edited into "correct" English, it would have lost a lot of its punch. As it is, you hear Julie's voice, narrating the story and challenging you to continue.

It contains excellent checklists and pointers for anyone else worried about committing an elderly or vulnerable relative to the care of their local hospital, all thoroughly straightforward and sensible none of which, in a sensible, properly-run NHS, would be necessary.

My only niggle? No index. I would like to be able to reference different people and parts they play in the horrible drama. It would also be useful in a future edition to have a glossary of many of the terms, abbreviations and acronyms.

It's an essential read for anyone involved in secondary (or, indeed, primary) healthcare who gives a damn about how the elderly and vulnerable are cared for and treated in our hospitals and patient safety and the basic values of nursing and medicine.
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on 4 April 2013
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