'Petergate' - The hospital wipes 'The Harris Tapes'.

I had a phone call today – from ‘Patient Experience’ at St. Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey – those are the people who sent me home for a week last year with a dislocated and fractured ankle.

I had had a meeting on the 11th September this year (that’s right, over a year after it happened) with a clinician from Accident and Emergency. That was the first time anyone from A and E had ever spoken to me.

It was, as you can imagine a fairly heated affair. I agreed to it on condition that it was recorded and that I would be provided with a copy of the meeting within two weeks. I didn’t trust them to produce a fair version of what was said.

It was one of a long list of assurances and time limits that they didn’t keep to. After 6 weeks I wrote to ‘Patient Experience’ and here’s the letter I sent (minus any names);

Patient Experience

St. Peter’s Hospital

Guildford Road






Your Ref: xxxxxxxxxxxxx

FAO xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Patient Experience Co-Ordinator


Dear Sirs,

I have just received your letter dated 15/10/13 and am surprised that it has taken you 6 weeks to write following the meeting on 11/9/13 and that you do not apologise for that delay.

It was agreed before the meeting that you would supply me with the audio recording and indeed, I made it clear that it was a condition of the meeting being recorded that I would be sent a copy.

Kindly send me a copy as agreed.

Yours Faithfully,



c/o xxxxxx




They obviously got that letter – because today (24/10/13) I got a phone call from ‘Patient Experience’ to tell me that unfortunately – “the recording didn’t work”.

I’m assured I will receive a written apology.

It’s very convenient for them that it has ‘not’ been recorded because as a result there is no independent record of what was said.

When President Richard Nixon recorded his conversations in the Oval Office, he forgot that they would reveal all his illegal conspiracies. As a result, when the tapes were finally revealed there were some big silences.

They didn’t just destroy the whole thing. So much more convenient.

It makes me more determined than ever to pursue this hospital and to ensure that real changes are made. That means clinical changes at A and E but also changes in the way that patients are treated and complaints are dealt with.

Me? I intend to go on repeating what I said, over and over again whether there is a recording or not and I’ll be publishing my version of events in the next week or so. Meanwhile this site has had the second most popular month ever and there are still 6 days to go.  That’s the best possible response to them.

Mind you, I could do with a hand from Lisa – can you bring along your guitar. I need a protest song.

So far all I’ve been able to come up with is that old Sex Pistols number ‘Liar’.



Help me sort out St Peter’s!

It would have had such an 80’s feel to it – ‘Patient Experience’ would have sent me their ‘Mix tape’ and I could have sent them one of mine.


I don’t know what I would have put on mine – you need a style or a theme. For my part  I wouldn’t have minded cassette or even reel to reel




But silence? This was the recording of my meeting with the ‘clinician’ from St. Peter’s Hospital’s negligent Accident and Emergency department – those are the ones who sent me home for a week with a fractured and dislocated ankle.

I was so angry, I insisted on an apology for their having wiped the ‘tape’ clean – actually I wanted some proof in case the audio miraculously appeared at some point in the future.

Here it is, as usual I have removed the name of the offending person as I never expose people for doing their job, even if that job or the way they are doing it is nothing to be proud of.


24 October 2013


Dear Mr Harris

This letter is further to our telephone conversation today during which I apologised for the delay in sending the meeting notes to you, and for the CD recording of the meeting not being available. I apologise for the technical fault that caused the problem with the recording and unfortunately that recording is not available to be downloaded to CD. I therefore typed my handwritten meeting notes into a legible form for you.

I would like to apologise once again for the distress these events have caused and hope that the meeting clarified all the outstanding issues you wished to raise.


Yours Sincerely



So that’s alright then.

Er, no it isn’t.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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