Dame Julie Mellor, “The Morecambe Bay Stance” & Bristol

These blog posts are relevant to our post:




Open Letter to Dame Julie Mellor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – 8th March 2015

Dear Dame Julie,

Complaints Reference EN-145676

The purpose of this letter is to give you and your organisation feedback on your handling of the above complaints and propose an action for you and your board of directors. The background and timeline of the complaint handling are here:

PHSO Background and Timeline

In our opinion the way in which you and some individuals in your organisation have handled this complaint is a case study in maladministration, misuse of public money and immoral, unethical and unprofessional conduct.

The timeline reveals that one of your staff explained to your Managing Director, Mick Martin that the PHSO had not investigated our complaints because:

“we decided that one of the regulatory bodies was dealing with the matter – it has very broad similarities to the stance we took in the Morecambe Bay complaint….”

The Morecambe Bay Inquiry Report reveals the immense damage caused by this stance. Similar damage has been inflicted on Bristol which is still haunted by past and present NHS failings.

Our timeline also reveals that the PHSO’s decisions as to whether or not to investigate a complaint can be improperly influenced by the NHS organisations against which complaints have been made. This is what one of your investigation managers said about our request for review of the PHSO’s refusal to investigate our complaints:

“if we uphold the complaint about us and re-investigate there is a risk to our relationship with the bodies that are subject to the complaint (some of which believe that the matters are not for the Ombudsman to investigate).” (PHSO Investigation Manager, Morgan Phillips 6th October 2014) (1)

This shameful statement was made six months ago and belies the plethora of PHSO spin that it can be trusted to handled complaints fairly. The PHSO’s investigation remit is governed by Parliamentary Statute, not the whims of the NHS. The PHSO is not answerable to unelected NHS officers, some of whom want to avoid accountability for their misconduct and continue to bully and suppress staff and citizen whistleblowers. The PHSO is accountable to Parliament, which is answerable to the citizens of Britain.

We agree with the Patients Association’s November 2014 analysis of the PHSO. It is the final and fatal mix of the toxic culture which repeatedly fails those who raise complaints about the Health Service.

We call on you and your board of executive and non executive directors to resign before you cause any more damage to people who entrust their complaints to your organisation.

Yours sincerely,

South West Whistleblowers Health Action Group.

(1) 8th July 2015, PHSO Managing Director Mick Martin says that the comment was made by Suzannah Beazley, then Head of the Review Team. We don’t care who at the PHSO made it. It’s shameful.


4 responses to “Dame Julie Mellor, “The Morecambe Bay Stance” & Bristol

  1. Reblogged this on phsothetruestory and commented:
    More evidence of PHSO side-stepping the issue to protect the NHS Trust. This is nothing short of corruption.

  2. How can the final arbiter of complaints concern themselves more with their relationships with public bodies than with patient safety? It is clear from this correspondence that PHSO are not independent, impartial, open, transparent or effective.

  3. Francesco Palma

    Hi Daphne
    You have already be aware of this link


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