An NHS campaigner who helped expose failings at Stafford Hospital has been subjected to online abuse after receiving a CBE in the New Year Honours list.
Julie Bailey, who was recognised for her services to the care of older people, said she was hurt by Facebook postings accusing her campaign group of “wrecking” health services in Stafford.
Several messages posted on the Support Stafford Hospital Facebook page criticised the decision to honour Ms Bailey, with one poster claiming the CBE was a “complete insult” to hard-working hospital staff.
Ms Bailey founded Cure the NHS after the death of her mother at the hospital in 2007, and led calls for a public inquiry which uncovered “terrible and unnecessary suffering” affecting hundreds of patients.
Administrators called in to oversee the hospital recommended last month its services be taken over by a neighbouring NHS trust.
Proposed changes which aim to save around £25m per year have been criticised by campaigners, who fear some services will now “dwindle away” from the town.
Ms Bailey, who has previously been subjected to online abuse, said: “Cure the NHS had nothing to do with the changes to services at the hospital.
“Our priority has only ever been patient safety, if that means transferring services to other hospitals then we support that move.
“We must always ensure that others aren’t harmed as our loved ones were.
“Sadly for some their priority is having a hospital on their doorstep and not patient safety.”
Last month a second criminal inquiry was launched at the scandal-hit hospital relating to the death of 90-year-old Ivy Bunn.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has began investigating the retired dinner lady’s death after a multi-agency review of more than 200 cases of alleged neglect.
The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is currently awaiting sentencing at Stafford Crown Court after admitting safety breaches relating to the death of Gillian Astbury, a diabetic patient who was not given insulin.
Staffordshire Police have completed an initial review of material relating to deaths at the hospital between 2005 and 2009.
In total, 209 cases have been identified for more detailed review and to date 36 have been examined by a joint team from Staffordshire Police and the HSE. No further action is being taken in respect of 34 of the cases.