Published Fri, 2010-12-03 16:24; updated 34 weeks ago.
A witness to the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry has revealed how he leaked information about infections at Stafford Hospital to the local media.
Robert Bastin told Day 16 of the inquiry that he became involved with the independent Patient and Public Involvement Forum (PPIF) following his daughter's experience at the hospital.
Mr Bastin, who resigned from the PPIF in October 2006 following the leak, said his daughter had been given a wrong diagnosis at the hospital and sent home after complaining of chest pains.
She was later readmitted to hospital to have fluid drained from her lungs, he added.
Mr Bastin, a retired university lecturer, said he gradually became disillusioned with the PPIF, and the Local Involvement Network (LINk) that replaced it, after trying to raise concerns about cleanliness standards at Stafford Hospital.
He described the PPIF as a “weak little organisation” that never really stood a chance, adding that both it and LINk were “badly constructed” to really ensure that the public is involved as much as possible.
“Unfortunately there is nothing in the construction of those organisations that will prevent their dysfunctioning as a result of imperfections in the way they are run,” he added.
“The organisations were too weak from the beginning and didn't function properly, so, you know, there was just no chance that they were ever going to have an impact.”
The inquiry was told that minutes of a hospital control of infection meeting, held in September 2006, were leaked to a local newspaper.
Mr Bastin said he was subsequently contacted by the PPIF and told he would not be allowed to have any further contact with the hospital.
“Once I heard that, I put in my resignation. It was as simple as that.”
Mr Bastin said he would wish to see patient complaints dealt in future by an area organisation, possibly covering the whole of the West Midlands.
“Only by looking at patient complaints and dealing with those and solving them will you ever improve what goes on in hospitals,” he added.
The inquiry resumes on Monday 6 December.