Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hospital demonstration

As you all know, I have been trying to improve the experience of newly diagnosed Prostate Cancer patients at my local hospital in Carlisle. I had hoped that after an enquiry had taken place some sweeping actions might have followed. However, the action plan seemed a bit vague and after showing it at my local support group, the general opinion was that it didn't go far enough.

So the next step was to organise a demonstration, protest, call it what you will. Raising public awareness to something that is killing 10,000 men a year in the UK seemed on balance, a good idea. Highlighting our hospital as somewhere that you will get an inferior experience to that of many other hospitals in the country would be an added bonus.

I even told the hospital of my plans and assured them that it would be peaceful and polite!

THEN.....This horrible letter arrived recorded delivery today...

And at the end they tell me that they monitor the content of my blog!!!!!!!!

"If your Blog contains anything that is not factually correct or which contains unsubstantiated criticism of the care you received..."

"...the Trust will have no hesitation in taking legal action against you".

So my thousands of followers are now aware that 'Big Brother' is not just a TV programme.

Can you believe, they would  spend vast amounts of money, employing a legal team to shut me up, and a persons wages to 'monitor my blog', rather than go through the simple low cost process of improving the patient experience in one department of their hospital?

My reply was this.....

So if I wake up tomorrow and my Blog has gone, then you will truly know the power of the NHS.

What should North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust do?

They should send a team of people, nurses, doctors and administrators, down to Addenbrookes Hospital near Cambridge, a world renowned hospital for the treatment of Prostate Cancer, where I was lucky enough to be treated. They should come back armed with the knowledge of 'What to do' from the very first moment a patient is referred to them. Because, when Helen Kelly (NHS Trust) came to our Support Group meeting, only 1 out of the 25 people present were happy with their patient experience to date, and that is just NOT good enough!


  1. F*ckwits!
    I wonder how they would feel if it were their Son, Daughter, Mother, Father, etc.

    If your blog goes down, we'll just create another in it's place. As recent superinjunctions have shown... You can't stop viral!


  2. Hey well said ma wee warrior!!! xxx Love you

  3. Dan - stay strong. Their immediate threat of legal action shows what a weak bunch they are.

  4. Anonymous29 May, 2011

    Nothing but total admiration for your stalwart efforts Dan! And don't forget, you have all the buddies on the Forum backing you too! Let the NHS take us all on! Pat (DARWIN on the FORUM)

  5. Anonymous30 May, 2011

    Good for you Dan! Go global! Tweet it round the world. That'll show them. It's about time we had much more awareness of this issue on PCa and post code lottery treatment. The Trust needs to regret the day it took this stance - in your case, there is absolutely no such thing as bad publicity, and in their case they can only look awful. Now, how can you get them to try to take out a Super Injunction???? Love Carol (Goodwife to you :-)) PS Oh I do hope you are reading this ... NHS Cumbria!!

  6. Thanks for all this support, I've had hundreds of e-mails and mentions on Facebook and all the forums, it's fantastic!! National press interviews lined up later this week, also a Woman’s magazine. A super injunction would be good; we could really raise the profile then. Thanks also to everyone who has offered to come along for the demonstration, we have good numbers now and I'll update you all soon. Dan

  7. Anonymous30 May, 2011

    I am right behind you and your protest,

    people need to understand this is a really nasty cancer and to be treated the way you are being treated is shocking, I am on a tight programme at work for the next two weeks but after that if your protest is say after the 16th June I can be there
    with my placard.

  8. Anonymous31 May, 2011

    NHS Cumbria, you should be ashamed. You had the chance to make something positive from this; now suffer the consequences....... & I hope it hurts.

  9. Anonymous11 June, 2011

    And it makes the news:

  10. Anonymous13 June, 2011

    I am ashamed of working in the NHS when I read stories like yours. In Cumbria it's not just men with prostate cancer who get a 3rd rate service, it's other people with other cancers too. The Trust have made themselves look ridiculous, spending taxpayer's money on lawyer's fees which could have been better spent on paying someone to answer the phoneline you rang 3 times and couldn't ever get an answer from. But then the Trust has big problems and perhaps explains why it's going down the tubes.

  11. Anonymous13 June, 2011

    Daniel dont be put off by the bully boy tactics of the Trust or their lawyers. The same Trust spent £333,000 fighting and spectacularly losing their race discrimination and unfair dismissal case against Dr. Sarina Saiger (see BBC website).

  12. Anonymous14 June, 2011

    Speaking as a (Cumbrian) solicitor and an expert in defamation, whilst this is not legal advice, I can say that I am really surprised at their letter. You only need to Google "defences to defamation" to see that they would have a tough job - look at justification and fair comment. They would have a hard job succeeding in a claim in defamation on the basis purely of "unsubstantiated criticism". Furthermore, there is currently uncertainty as to whether blogs are libel (effectively permanent written form) or slander (transitory, like the spoken word). The distinction is highly material. Furthermore, those of us who are used to reading these types of letter will note the fact that it is actually a non-threat. Paraphrased, it reads "if you do something which we can sue you on, we will have no hesitation in considering doing something". Well that is a surprise! They will immediately, without delay and forthwith...."consider" doing something. Just two other points:
    1. The solicitors or the Trust will have copyright in the letter they wrote you. If they are being picky, they will ask you to take the copy of the letter down, because you don't have the right to copy it. I suggest you take the copy down now and replace it with a section of text paraphrasing what they said e.g. "they told me I was planning to ...and they threatened to...". That is not a copy; and
    2. If they do take action, please shout and I shall be happy to call you to discuss representation on a "Pro Bono" basis as to solicitor's costs.

  13. Yet another example of bureaucratic bullying. The real irony is that the taxpayers themselves fund this type of action. We are expected to tolerate mediocre or non-existent service provision because of 'cutbacks' but there's ALWAYS money available for pathetic actions like these. Thank God for the Internet otherwise there would be NO platform for us mere mortals. Good luck and best wishes, Daniel

  14. I must respectfully disagree with JFM. The letter was sent to you, it is your property and you can do whatever you want with it.

    Copyright does not come into it because there is nothing in the letter that is capable of being copyrighted.

    Incidentally, I cannot begin to understand how you managed to be so polite in your reply, I would have written "F**k O*f you bullying c***s, I am telling nothing but the truth, if your clients don't like the truth they can f**k o*f too."

  15. Well their letter shows that they do not have any facts given by yourself that they can take legal action against. they are warning you should you have the desire to do so, in order to frighten you. I would thank them for their advice and advise that all facts that will be given at the demonstration can be fully substantiated.