Published Tue, 2010-12-14 19:29; updated 2 years ago.

Members of Stafford’s local involvement network (LINk) were told not to whinge or whine about the hospital, a public inquiry had heard.

Mrs Wendy Wintle, a committee member of the Stafford LINk was giving evidence on the twenty first day of the Public Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

LINks are groups of individuals community groups, that work together to improve health and social care services.

Mrs Wintle told the inquiry: "I recall that at the first annual general meeting for the LINk the chair at the time, Michael Creek, stood upright at the beginning and said 'We'll have no whinging or whining about the hospital'."

She said that despite, a significant budget for advertising, very little had been spent on letting people effort had been put into recruiting people to the group.

Mrs Wintle said it then came to the part of the meeting where people were allowed to raise questions.

"However, when people such as myself started to raise questions about matters such as the publicity and the accounts, the meeting came to quite an abrupt end," she said.

"It appeared that although we had been asked to raise issues and ask questions, when we actually did so these were not acknowledged. They did not seem to like us asking any questions at all."

Mrs Wintle also said it was minuted in a meeting that LINk committee members who were also members of the campaigning groups Cure the NHS might have a conflict of interest.

"Not long after that, three of us received letters from the host organisation accusing us of inappropriate behaviour.

"None of us could understand what we had apparently done wrong, and I still don't think that we did do anything wrong.

"I think it was just a way of trying to effect some revenge on us because those who were running the LINk thought we were being disruptive by asking questions and pressing them about why certain things weren't being done."

The evidence was heard on Monday, December 13. The Inquiry resumed on Tuesday, December 14.