ITV news raises 400 Stafford hospital deaths again. Here’s why it never happened

ITV News this evening once again mentioned the supposed ‘excess’ toll of 400-1200 ‘unnecessary’ deaths that are supposed to have occurred at Stafford NHS hospital.

It is an early example of modern, Tory-sponsored mainstream fake news – yet still lazily regurgitated by media and by Tories looking for something to attack Labour with on the NHS.

The discovery of that fake news was what first put the SKWAWKBOX on the map – and set the pattern followed since of information broken on this blog, ridiculed and then admitted by the mainstream.

The SKWAWKBOX examined events at Stafford hospital in early 2013 – and found that what was being presented as a huge ‘excess’ death toll was in fact a statistical construct misrepresented as fact by political and commercial vested interests.

When a clinical investigation was carried out into the questionable deaths, medical expert found “maybe one” death that might have been avoided if everything had been done right – which is actually an exceptional performance, as every acute hospital in the UK will have deaths every week that might have been avoided if everything had gone perfectly.

The ‘toll’ arose from a misapplication of ‘average’ deaths, which meant that around half of all hospitals would always be below average – and the hospital’s decision to sack the trained ‘coders’ responsible for ensuring that the seriousness of a patient’s condition on arrival was properly recorded.

A cost-cutting measure that ended up costing the hospital millions – and falsely inflating its mortality rates:


But even the official report looking at the mortality statistics warned that no conclusions should be drawn from them about actual deaths – and was ignored by an Establishment eager to undermine the NHS and attack the Labour Party.

The SKWAWKBOX uncovered these facts and was attacked for publishing them. The mainstream media initially ‘doubled down’ on the fake news, for example claiming that the head of the government’s NHS inquiry, Sir Bruce Keogh, had stated there were 13,000 such deaths across the NHS – a claim he immediately refuted:

keogh 13k.png

But then even the ‘MSM’ started to acknowledge the truth:

randeep staffs.png

indy staffs

Even the right-wing press grudgingly admitted it eventually:

mail staffstg staffsyp staffs

Academic experts also rubbished the ‘death toll’.

None of that stopped David Cameron and other Tories repeating it in the House of Commons – nor prevented Theresa May regurgitating it there just last year.


Such false claims damage public confidence in the NHS – and now ITV News has forgotten that the claims were exposed as fake news and has recycled them again.

The fake news about Stafford eventually cost the people of Stafford most of their hospital services, forcing them into a 40-minute – at best – journey to Stoke when they need treatment. Stoke is now in crisis because of under-resourcing, but also because of additional demand caused by the closures at Stafford.

We must not allow fake news to cost us more of our NHS.

And – just perhaps – there’s a lesson in all of this about fake news: that the Establishment and the MSM are its main creators and propagators, for their own purposes.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Post navigation