Dawn Butler: ‘I hid in toilet to uncover hospital failings’

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LABOUR MP Dawn Butler says she was forced to hide in a hospital toilet to read documents that would ultimately uncover the failings in the care being administered to her father.

Butler’s 73-year-old father Milo, a former baker and musician, was admitted into Queen’s hospital in Romford, east London, with a suspected stroke in 2010.

He contracted an eye infection and spent six weeks at the hospital where he was subjected to “avoidable and unnecessary pain and suffering,” his family say. He passed away three years ago.

“With my dad, at the time he went in, he could see, he could speak, he could walk,” Butler told The Evening Standard.

“By the time he came out he could hardly walk and was blind in one eye. I’m a great advocate of the NHS and I want it to work. But when it goes wrong the consequences are really grave.”

The Butler family is among 15 cases recently settled with Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS trust over complaints of inadequate care between 2007 and 2013 with complaints ranging from lack of food to patients suffering falls and bedsores.


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Butler, who recently returned to parliament, told the newspaper of how she became suspicious of practices at the hospital when relatives were always forced out when lunch was served.

The politician opted to hide out in the toilet to uncover the service her father was receiving.

She said she also saw a patient receive the wrong medication during her watch.

“They would leave food at the end of patients’ beds and come back and pick it up, and the patients didn’t know it was there,” she explained.

“I was at the hospital every day, so was the rest of my family. It was such a frustrating time because the hospital was more concerned with covering their tracks and each other’s backs rather than dealing with any issues or complaints or the patients.

“They said he was on certain medication and he wasn’t. They said they had done certain tests and they hadn’t. It was shocking, absolutely shocking.”

Butler’s family was awarded £3,000 in damages. They have pledged to use the money to set up a charity, aptly named MILO – an acronym for My Inspiration Lives On – for musicians.

Speaking to The Voice earlier this year, Butler spoke passionately about missing out in the 2010 elections but using the time to spend it with her father.

She explained: “To me, if I was an MP I would have been torn because I’m so committed to what I do, so I know it would have been difficult to do both things. I would never take away that time I had with my dad, so I think everything happened for a reason.”

She has expressed a renewed commitment to “ensuring these systematic failings cannot happen again.”

Source: voice-online.co.uk

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