Patient Stories



In our own words...

Here are a selection of short stories from patients and family members who have been brave enough to tell their story. We receive thousands of stories to our helpline every year, if you have been affected by any of these issues in these stories and want to talk confidentially to one of our independent and trained helpline staff, then you can get in touch via our online submission form, or by calling us on 020 8423 8999. Please note, in some instances we may have used actors' images and alternative names to protect the patient's identity.



Patient Stories Review

We believe it is really important that patients and their families get the opportunity to tell their story so that they can start on the path of recovery. Part of that recovery process is knowing that by sharing your story you can help prevent others having to undergo the same traumatic ordeal. In some cases it is also about seeking the truth behind what really happened when a loved one was in the hands of a health and social care provider that didn't fulfil their oath and duty of care. That's why every year we listen carefully to patients, promote campaigns, represent the patient voice at all levels of Government and publish the stories of people who have received inadequate care. 

The PHSO - The labyrinth of bureaucracy

This document is a follow-up report to The Patients Association report on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, “The ‘Peoples’ Ombudsman – How it Failed us”. On the PSHO’s own website they recognise the common complaints raised about their own service but from what we hear, nothing seems to have improved and lessons do not appear to have been learnt. People describe “battling the PHSO” and that they have “no intention to give in without a fight” which we believe must be the opposite of what people should have to do when engaging with the so called last resort of complaints. We continue to hear similar feedback from patients on a weekly basis.

The Patients Association strongly believes that the complaint process can and must improve. 

To read this follow up report, click here.

The PHSO - The people's ombudsman?

For many years we have advised people who had contacted our National Helpline to go to the PHSO when they have received an unsatisfactory response from their local health service providers. Sadly we can no longer recommend this course of action to patients, as we have no confidence in the PHSO to carry out an independent, fair, open, honest and robust investigation.
The Ombudsman is frequently quoted as saying patients who suffer harm or poor care in hospitals are failed by a “toxic cocktail” within the health service, whereby complaints go unheard and lessons unlearned. In our view, the PHSO are the final and fatal mix of that toxic culture.

Nearly 50 years after the PHSO was established, it is time for real and robust change, not just promises and more recommendations.

To read this special report, click here.

Patient Stories 2013: Time for Change

This is our fifth annual collection of patients’ stories. The collection of stories is different to those that we have used before. In the previous years the focus of these reports, and our CARE campaign, has been on the care of the elderly. This remains a concern, despite the huge amount of hard work that is taking place to improve care in this area. This year the focus is on what could be the single biggest development in healthcare since the launch of the NHS plan over a decade ago - the publication of recommendations of the Inquiry conducted by Robert Francis QC into failings of care at Mid Staffordshire.

To read this issue of Patient Stories click here.

Patient Stories 2012

In November 2012 we published our fourth annual 'Patient Stories' report- a series of case studies highlighting shocking experiences of poor care that  still scare the NHS. This edition catalogues 13 accounts from patients or relatives who have experienced poor care in hospitals and care homes around the country. The report is a snapshot of the many stories of poor care heard by the Patients Association Helpline, and reflects wider shortcomings in the NHS, which require change in both Westminster and on hospital wards.

To read this issue of Patient Stories click here

Patient Stories 2011

In November 2011, the Patients Association launched its third Patient Stories report - "We have been Listening, Have you been Learning". The report contains some shocking accounts of care received by patients in hospitals across the country, focusing on four key fundamentals of care-communication, access to pain relief, assistance with toileting and help with eating and drinking.

To read this issue of Patient Stories click here.

Patient Stories 2010

At the time of the 2009 release we received many more reports from patients and carers and continued to receive them many months later. Determined to continue to expose the issue of neglect in hospitals we decided to publish a follow up report in December 2010.

To read the 2010 issue of Patient Stories 'click here.

Patient Stories 2009

In 2009 the Patients Association released 'Patients not Numbers, People not Statistics' a collection of 16 firsthand accounts of patient care. The report prompted widespread concern about care of older patients in hospital and was discussed in the House of Commons and House of Lords.

To read the 2009 issue of Patient Stories click here.