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Why Averil's Death Matters to Everyone...

Nic Hart

Why Averil's death matters to everyone...

When there are failures and negligence in the NHS that lead to someone's death, it is tragic and we feel a great sense of loss, but we hope that there will be learning in order to improve NHS care so that nobody else will die in the same circumstances.


In Averil's case some of the clinicians have tried to cover up what happened and have written internal emails about the "..potential reputational damage to the service and trust". They deleted emails, they briefed staff on what to say before outside interviews were held, they managed to get Averil's case study removed from a national safety publication (MARSIPAN), they also withheld patient records… The list goes on. All the while making the search for the truth about what happened to Averil all the more difficult.

In what world is it acceptable to put the reputation of a hospital over the life of a young woman and the safety of others ?

The cover up of any death is a terrible thing, but sadly it seems to be part of NHS culture.

Mid Staffordshire, Southern Healthcare, Morecambe bay are all examples of the NHS protecting their own rather than learning from mistakes and improving.


This matters to all of us.

Averil's death and the deaths of all those who have been subject to NHS ‘service failure’, will affect all of us in some way, at some point. This is because every family will need the NHS at some stage in their lives and it is essential that we can trust the clinicians to do what’s best for the patients they are caring for and learn from previous mistakes in order to keep patients safe.

And right now we need the Ombudsman to investigate the evidence, gather the truth and create a report that truly reflects what happened.