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TV drama on Stafford Hospital scandal to air next month

By Richard Guttridge | Stafford | Health | Published: | Last Updated:

A television drama telling the story of the Stafford Hospital scandal is set to hit screens next month.

Whistleblower Julie Bailey is at the heart of a new Channel 4 drama

The Cure will be shown on Channel 4 and follow the journey of campaigner Julie Bailey who blew the whistle on her mother's shocking care.

Her complaints led to a huge scandal which resulted in the fall of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust and created national headlines.

Hundreds are thought to have died in appalling conditions at the hospital between 2005 and 2009 in one of the most shameful periods in the history of the NHS.

The making of the programme has not been without controversy.

Families of other patients who died at the hospital called on it to be pulled by Channel 4 after saying they felt “uncomfortable” about the deaths of their loved ones being “turned into some form of entertainment”.

Ms Bailey, however, has said she feels it is important the scandal is delivered to a wider audience who might not be aware of the extent of what went on. She also fears the "crisis could happen again".

Stafford Hospital

She previously defended the programme and told the Express & Star it was a "story about me".

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She witnessed the appalling conditions when her elderly mother Bella was admitted for a routine hernia procedure.

Since her mother's death Ms Bailey has become an ardent campaigner for NHS reform and launched the group Cure the NHS.

An inquiry called for "a fundamental culture change" but Ms Bailey, who went on to be awarded a CBE, does not believe that has happened.

Prior to the drama being aired she met with actor Sian Brooke, who plays her. Sue Johnston, star of The Royle Family, plays her mother.

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The programme will also portray the abuse the whistleblower suffered for speaking out.

Ms Bailey reportedly said: "The drama is emotional, and it’s hard how it takes you back to that time. But the way it was handled was brilliant.

"The producers approached me. It felt right because I don’t feel we’ve got to where we wanted - the recommendations from the report have not been implemented.

"There are more errors on wards than when my mum was alive, and it’s the same errors over and over again. NHS staff aren’t safe to speak out; nor are patients and relatives."

County Hospital, as it became known, is now run by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Chief executive Tracy Bullock said: "The causes of (Ms Bailey’s case) were examined by a Public Inquiry led by Sir Robert Francis QC and the publication of his report in 2013 led to a change of culture including a tougher inspection regime by the Care Quality Commission and a duty of candour to patients and their families.

"During the last five years there has been significant investment in improving facilities and services and I am proud of our loyal and dedicated staff who work hard to maintain the highest standards."

She added: "I hope the programme makers do not confuse the past with the present as that would do both our staff and patients a real disservice.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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