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WE WILL NOT BE GAGGED.

Byline: VIVIENNE AITKEN

HEALTH board bosses have been accused of trying to gag a family over a mum's death.

They raised complaints about great-grandmother Joyce Neil's treatment before her death at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, in April 2014.

Sisters Mary Carruthers and Joyce Miller felt there was a lack of urgency in treating their mum and watched her getting weaker every day.

One doctor prescribed an intravenous drip but it came out regularly and Mary and Joyce would find it dripping on the floor or on a chair.

They also complained that water was too far away for their mum to reach and her lips were cracked from dehydration.

They claim an anonymous letter they received confirmed their suspicions of a cover-up by NHS bosses.

An by the health to gag family clearly They were convinced the letter backed their position that there remain unanswered questions about their mum's death.

MSP anas After the Daily Record highlighted their plight, the police began an investigation into Joyce's death.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran also got in touch with Mary and Joyce after the story appeared and offered to meet with them - after previously refusing to do so.

However, after the meeting was arranged, their lawyer told them the board were insisting on a confidentiality clause.

The sisters refused, believing the information which may be given to them could be in the public interest. The health board then withdrew their offer of a meeting.

Mary said last night: "It makes us even more concerned that something untoward happened when they want to gag us."

Their lawyer sent the sisters a letter which read: "I have spoken to the health board and advised them you are not willing to provide a confidentiality undertaking to facilitate the occurrence of the meeting. On that basis, the meeting is not going to take place."

Last night, Labour's health spokesman Anas Sarwar described the attempt to gag Mary and Joyce as "outrageous".

He added: "It shouldn't take a patient or their family having to contact a newspaper to get justice for themselves or their families but that's what it took in this case.

"A poor attempt by the health board to gag the family in order for them to pursue justice is clearly unacceptable.

"The health board should correct this immediately. Anything less is a betrayal."

The police officers carrying out the investigation into Joyce's death are understood to have been involved with looking into 40 other cases raised in 2013 by whistleblower Rab Wilson, a former nurse with NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

unacceptable sarwar Wilson, a founding member of Action for a Safe and Accountable People's NHS, said the attempt to gag the women was "evidence of continued cover-ups at NHS Ayrshire & Arran which go back years".

A spokeswoman from NHS Ayrshire & Arran did not answer questions about attempts to gag the women.

Their response was: "The claim is being negotiated by solicitors for both parties and remains confidential, therefore NHS Ayrshire & Arran cannot comment further.

"We would encourage the family to contact their solicitor if they have any concerns or questions. The meeting would have been part of the overall case, which is confidential."

gag the to pursue unacceptable. "The correct Anything The out the Joyce's have looking raised in Rab with NHS Wilson, of Action for a Safe and NHS, said the attempt to up the that the also got in An attempt by the health board to gag the family is clearly unacceptable MSP ANAS SARWAR

CAPTION(S):

CONCERNS Joyce Neil died four years ago

MISSED Joyce Neil with one of her greatgrandchildren
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 19, 2018
Words:596
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