Five tribunals and a dress code

Coming up this summer; a two-week General Medical Council (GMC) tribunal for the consultant psychiatrist to be held in Manchester in August, and four Nursing and Midwifery (NMC) tribunals.

  • Four years after LB drowned, alone, in an NHS bath.
  • Over three years after an independent report found he died a preventable death through neglect.
  • Nearly two years after an inquest jury determined he died through neglect and serious failings.

It’s all going on this summer. The pipers are suddenly calling the tunes.

The NMC sent me (Rich has dropped off these communications without explanation) four identical letters last week which open with a cheery:

On behalf of the NMC, thank you for your time and commitment in helping us to investigate this case; your help is greatly appreciated. Without the evidence provided by witnesses we would not be able to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public. We recognise the valuable contribution you have made to this investigation.

‘This case’? ‘My help’? ‘The valuable contribution…‘ Really?

Is humanity bypass a criteria for a job at the NMC?  I’m all for change but spare me the vacuous Dambuster shite. LB died.

The letter continues by ‘asking me’ to provide my unavoidable (in bold) commitments in June, July and August. There is no reflection of the enormity of demanding these dates (after years of crap all action) so breezily, four times over, with a response deadline of ten days. No. The reverse. If those pesky bereaved parents don’t get their act together to respond, there is a simple fallback position:

If we do not hear from you we will assume you are available and proceed to schedule the hearings.

I’m then directed to a lengthy weblink which I have to retype from the letter to find out more (there is so much so wrong here but seriously, if you ain’t sending a letter electronically, a URL is as good as fucking useless).

It gets worse.

At each of these tribunals, the staff member is represented by a barrister who can ‘cross-examine’ the witness.

Giving your evidence in person also allows the opposing side, if present at the hearing, to ask you questions and test your evidence. This is vital to ensure a fair and thorough hearing.

The opposing side? I don’t think that the staff who should have been looking after LB are on an ‘opposing side’. What a terrible way to frame the process. But if there are opposing sides, surely both (or none) have recourse to legal representation? (Witnesses are not allowed representation). How can this possibly be a fair or thorough process?

The concerns and focus of these regulatory bodies should be on the integrity, professionalism and abilities of the people they register, not putting (bereaved) members of the public through trial and examination. There’s a shedload of evidence to draw upon to do this, including two weeks of inquest recordings, staff and other witness statements.

James Titcombe described his and his partner’s experiences earlier:

I have spent days giving evidence to both regulatory bodies, checking this evidence, finding supporting documentation and waiting for action. In the next few months, I’m expected to travel to Manchester and wherever in the UK the four NMC tribunals are held (using annual leave and making sure I’m available at all times), to be cross examined by five different barristers.

You can fuck your denim, sportswear and trainers ban.

21 thoughts on “Five tribunals and a dress code

  1. Christ. I actually don’t know what else to say..
    Well a long list of expletives come to mind.
    Other than that I am at a loss.

  2. To rush through a process so fast, popping up like a Jack-in-the-box to take you by surprise is a tactic – so the process isn’t improving after three years.
    So many words and yet no communication, and using words like ‘opposing’. All battle tactics.
    Testing parents whose children paid a high price already (for lack of communication) by dying.

  3. I don’t think unless you had written it anyone would believe that this happens Sara
    It’s just beyond belief and you are reeling once again. What lengths to protect people that need to answer but not you or your family who has had the knife twisted so many times

  4. There is so much piffle talked about personalisation – it is a great idea but for most of these organisations it is just words. For anyone – anyone at all – to think that approach was ok is appalling for any organisation: banks, vets, shops, public toilets. For it to be ok in organisations representing “care” is an abomination.

  5. hideous, may as well dress for American football , the defensive lines and alignments will all have been well rehearsed. Maybe two or three staff gave honest accounts ? Your own evidence and supporting documentation isn’t sacred in the hands of regulatory bodies. Very best wishes, no surprise that you were the sole focus for the NMC contact , brace for more of the same ‘ focus’.

  6. It is a shame that the ‘medical mafia’ cannot admit that they sometimes get it wrong. Getting it wrong is not the crime, but covering it up and blaming the patient for complaining is unforgivable.

    What happened to the hippocratic oath? One part reads (I believe) ‘I will remember that there is an art to medicine as well as a science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeons knife or the chemists drug’.

    There does not seem much warmth sympathy or understanding coming from the GMC in your case Sara. Shocking behaviour from a body that supposed to protect and safeguard the public from the doctors who are not fit to practice.

  7. Sara, we had a terrible week with the NMC in 2014. Don’t know about now but back then, you weren’t allowed to sit through the evidence given by the witnesses until you’ve given your own evidence. We had legitimate reasons (which the NMC agreed were legitimate) to go on first and they’d agreed beforehand that this would happen. Otherwise, we]d have got someone to sit through the evidence (as it’s a public hearing) to take notes.

    You’re herded into a white windowless room with the medical staff who are also waiting to give evidence, which is very stressful. These are people you may have made complaints about in other forums. In our case, day after day, endless reasons were trotted out why each of these witnesses needed to go on before us. We were left in the room for hours on end, day after day thinking we would be called only to find that the NMC barrister would come out with some reason why not. An NMC person who had been in the court and heard the proceedings came out on Day 1 and warned us, “They’re nurses. They’re on the side of the nurse.” It was bewildering. From going on first on the first day as agreed, we gave our evidence on the LAST day as the very last witnesses.

    The questioning in the hearing was hostile and we were treated as though we were on trial and, in the summing up, as though we’d been found guilty (though it was hard to know what of, apart from trying to get to the truth of our mother’s death). It was a ghastly, ghastly experience and I felt like I would never get over it. HOWEVER, we asked for a transcript. I didn’t think we’d get this but we did. Some of the evidence given previously was hearsay by Trust staff who had never met us…

  8. All the best Sara, but don’t expect much from the GMC. I repeatedly reported a number of psychiatrists in north Wales to them and every concern that I raised was ignored. A few weeks ago I obtained documents from my lawyer that she had obtained – but only by summoning the CEO of the Trust involved before a judge who ordered him to release records that he had been withholding – and there were documents compiled by the psychiatrists themselves detailing their own criminal conduct. Best of all was a letter allegedly from me that had been forged by someone at the GMC! I have given up trying to get anywhere with the GMC or NHS complaints procedure, I have just put all the details up on my blog…
    Whatever the outcome of the hearings into Connor’s case, please blog all the details – it is only when we all start publishing just what these people get up to will they come under appropriate scrutiny…

  9. If they want formal wear, how about something like this:

    but in shocking pink,

    with something like this

    against draughts (very prevalent in Victorian institutions),

    supported by a pair of these:

    – definitely not trainers!

    What a bunch of self-important arses.

  10. Sara – I recommend Lucy la Zouche’s book ‘NMC Survival Guide’. Although the main character in the book is a Nurse, who faced a Tribunal, some of the guidance applies equally to complainants. The experience for both parties seems remarkably similar in terms of stress and procedural nightmares. It is a very ‘low cost’ read. More details on the book with links to retailers are at: You will also find details of Lucy’s other book here too – ‘The NHS, the Uniform & the Blackberry®’. The books are anonymised but Sara knows Lucy’s ID and the NHS Trust concerned – the rest of you can guess!

  11. Pingback: LB: Another Day…In Court. | Who By Fire

  12. Pingback: Tribunal torture | mydaftlife

  13. Missed this in April – possibly because we were still recovering from the farcical shit that was an NMC hearing! Ha ! I never noticed the dress code in the reams of info they sent so jeans it was – far more practical when pushing a wheelchair! Expenses? Hmm – they paid the hotel in advance – with a dinner allowance – to date not a penny for travelling or parking. The hearing? Loooooooong story where legal arguments actually excluded me and the evidence! Still- I’m hanging on to the CCTV footage and when she’s splashed across the front of the daily fail for doing the same thing again I’ll be waiting! 😉

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