Report into death of Darwen man 'a whitewash' says charity boss

This Is Lancashire: Leah, David and Lynn Nixon. Inset: Paul Nixon, who died of cancer at the age of 28. Leah, David and Lynn Nixon. Inset: Paul Nixon, who died of cancer at the age of 28.

AN ombudsman’s report into the death of a 27-year-old man has been labelled a ‘whitewash’ by a campaigning charity boss.

Paul Nixon, of Darwen, died in November 2011, three months after being diagnosed with a rare sarcoma cancer in his thigh, and a complaint into a number of issues was lodged by his family.

The complaint was referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who found some failings but decided not to take the case further.

His stunned mum Lynn Nixon, who watched her son pass away at the family home in Huntingdon Drive, said the ombudsman’s report had not gone nearly far enough.

Mrs Nixon, who launched her complaint last year, said all the family wanted was an apology from the hospital.

And in a letter to ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor MBE, the honorary president of Sarcoma UK, Roger Wilson CBE, described her judgement as ‘significantly flawed’ and said it ran ‘counter to national guidelines’.

He criticised a decision to refer Paul to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, rather than his local oncology centre The Christie in Manchester which he said led to a delay in treatment.

Mr Wilson’s letter, and his report of the case, was also sent to medical director for NHS England Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, clinical director for cancer for NHS England Sean Duffy, chief inspector of hospitals Prof Sir Mike Ricards and several other high profile medical executives.

Mr Wilson told the Lancashire Telegraph he believed there were a number of problems with Dame Julie’s investigation of the case.

He said: “It does appear there is a whitewash, and whether that is accidental or not I do not know.

“If we take the way Paul’s first visit to hospital (when he was mis-diagnosed) was looked at, it was split into three separate complaints.

“Put together, it was one major problem but splitting it into three has put a whitewash on it.”

Mr Wilson said he wanted to obtain the apology Mrs Nixon has waited so long for.

He said: “Paul was improperly treated by Royal Blackburn Hospital.

“There have been some apologies but they will not admit that the doctors got anything wrong.”

Once he was diagnosed as having a sarcoma, Paul was referred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham for further treatment.

Mr Wilson said this was against NHS and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines as he should have been immediately referred to his local oncology department, The Christie in Manchester.

He said: “The way the report looked at the referral broke NHS guidelines and when Lynn challenged it, the hospital reinforced that that was the right thing to do.

“The ombudsman also wrongly backed up the decision to refer him to Birmingham.”

In his letter, Mr Wilson said: “The pathway for soft tissue sarcoma for hospitals and GPs in the Cumbria and East Lancashire Network which was in place at the time was to the Christie Hospital.

“The only service ROH Birmingham could deliver for Paul Nixon was to confirm diagnosis.

“It was known that he had metastatic disease at diagnosis in Blackburn and that an oncologist should be involved in his treatment. There is no oncologist available at ROH for out of network patients.

“Paul eventually reached an oncologist at the Christie. His disease was too advanced for anything other than palliative care.”

Mr Wilson founded Sarcoma UK in 2003, four years after being diagnosed with the disease himself.

He was awarded a CBE in 2011 for his work in helping cancer patients.

He has also advised national cancer director Mike Richards on the Government’s cancer reform strategy and sits on the board of the Cancer Research Institute.

Mrs Nixon said: “Mr Wilson’s report clearly shows just how wrong the Royal Blackburn Hospital consultants got it when my son was there.

“All I want is an apology for the delay in diagnosis and the unnecessary suffering Paul had to go through.”

A spokeswoman for the Health Service Ombudsman said: “We will be responding to Mr Wilson’s letter.

“The Ombudsman Service investigates complaints in private due to the sensitive nature of the issues we consider and because the legislation governing us requires this.

“Unfortunately, we therefore cannot comment on any specific cases.”

Royal Blackburn Hospital also declined to comment and said they had not seen a copy of the letter or Mr Wilson’s report into the case.

Comments (3)

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3:07pm Mon 26 Aug 13

mavrick says...

There is no excuse for this disgraceful mess. It seems consultants are untouchable. The ombudsman has been very poor in the investigation. Cases like this justify the hospital being put into special measures. the pressure the staff have to work under is unacceptable. the pressure is demotivating. If you are waiting for an apology you will wait a long time.
There is no excuse for this disgraceful mess. It seems consultants are untouchable. The ombudsman has been very poor in the investigation. Cases like this justify the hospital being put into special measures. the pressure the staff have to work under is unacceptable. the pressure is demotivating. If you are waiting for an apology you will wait a long time. mavrick
  • Score: 9

6:51pm Mon 26 Aug 13

Anne teak says...

So sorry for the Nixon family.

They should know that they hardly stood a chance with the Parliamentary Health and Services Ombudsman.

The PHSO is a rubber stamping department for government organisations..It only investigates around 1.5 percent if cases at a cost of £34m a year.

If the Nixons want to know more visit phsothefacts website .. It's a new group of bereaved and people that expected justice and didn't get it.
So sorry for the Nixon family. They should know that they hardly stood a chance with the Parliamentary Health and Services Ombudsman. The PHSO is a rubber stamping department for government organisations..It only investigates around 1.5 percent if cases at a cost of £34m a year. If the Nixons want to know more visit phsothefacts website .. It's a new group of bereaved and people that expected justice and didn't get it. Anne teak
  • Score: 5

5:48pm Wed 28 Aug 13

mr jackman says...

Anne teak wrote:
So sorry for the Nixon family.

They should know that they hardly stood a chance with the Parliamentary Health and Services Ombudsman.

The PHSO is a rubber stamping department for government organisations..It only investigates around 1.5 percent if cases at a cost of £34m a year.

If the Nixons want to know more visit phsothefacts website .. It's a new group of bereaved and people that expected justice and didn't get it.
hello i can tell you the truth the phso is disgusting im here telling you lot i dont no how long i have left to live the ombudsman i had was good he told me he had all my evidence this man as now gone off the face of this earth and i did not get my report it got stopped by andrew lansley to the phso all i got was a letter saying they THINK the hospital did a good job so i ask how can you send me a letter saying that the stent in my heart blocked off part of it i have had 2 heart attacks i was disgusted they can say that and have discriminated my human right and all i get now is no comment this is a disgrace from dame julie mellor this doctor is now in court with the g.m.c but its behind closed door i have found out this doctor as lied on is profile saying he was a member of the B.C.S IN LONDON i will find out in 2 weeks if he is to be struck off y dose a heart doctor want to lie on is profile if my story get out government will be in shame yes mr cameron if you think im wrong take me to court and see who wins hads down me
[quote][p][bold]Anne teak[/bold] wrote: So sorry for the Nixon family. They should know that they hardly stood a chance with the Parliamentary Health and Services Ombudsman. The PHSO is a rubber stamping department for government organisations..It only investigates around 1.5 percent if cases at a cost of £34m a year. If the Nixons want to know more visit phsothefacts website .. It's a new group of bereaved and people that expected justice and didn't get it.[/p][/quote]hello i can tell you the truth the phso is disgusting im here telling you lot i dont no how long i have left to live the ombudsman i had was good he told me he had all my evidence this man as now gone off the face of this earth and i did not get my report it got stopped by andrew lansley to the phso all i got was a letter saying they THINK the hospital did a good job so i ask how can you send me a letter saying that the stent in my heart blocked off part of it i have had 2 heart attacks i was disgusted they can say that and have discriminated my human right and all i get now is no comment this is a disgrace from dame julie mellor this doctor is now in court with the g.m.c but its behind closed door i have found out this doctor as lied on is profile saying he was a member of the B.C.S IN LONDON i will find out in 2 weeks if he is to be struck off y dose a heart doctor want to lie on is profile if my story get out government will be in shame yes mr cameron if you think im wrong take me to court and see who wins hads down me mr jackman
  • Score: -1

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