Her mother Bella Bailey, who was 86, was admitted to Stafford Hospital in September 2007 with an enlarged hernia and died there on 8 November 2007.
She helped to form an organisation, Cure the NHS, which successfully campaigned for a public inquiry into the failings at the hospital. She ran a dog grooming parlour and a small cafe, Breaks, on Lichfield Road in the centre of town, which became the headquarters of the campaign. She and her supporters plastered the walls with photographs of dozens of elderly men and women – husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters – who they claimed had died unnecessarily at the hospital because of lack of care.
She was nationally praised for her determination to shine a light on the failings of the Trust. In Stafford some people have blamed her for a planned downgrade of the town’s hospital. She says she suffered abuse in the streets, desecration of her mother’s grave, and was hounded out of her home in Stafford. However police dropped the investigation into the alleged harassment claim as they could not find sufficient evidence.
In 2012 Bailey authored a book called "From Ward to Whitehall: the Disaster at Mid Staffs Hospital", the story of her fight for the truth to be uncovered about the situation in Mid Staffs Hospital and her struggle to improve it.
Bailey was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours. She received abuse during and subsequent to her campaign, particularly through the Support Stafford Hospital Facebook page.
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- Hate campaign at gong for NHS whistleblower who helped expose Mid-Staffs hospital scandal Daily Mail 2 January 2014 Retrieved 10 April 2014
- "Inquiry into harassment claim by Stafford Hospital protester ends". Express and Star. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 7. London Gazette
- "Julie Bailey backlash over CBE". Express and Star. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Julie Bailey: NHS campaigner suffers online abuse BBC News. 2 January 2014 Retrieved 10 April 2014
- Stafford health campaigner Julie Bailey named as one of the 10 most powerful women in Britain Staffordshire Newsletter. 9 April 2014 Retrieved 10 April 2014
- "Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – Game Changers". BBC Radio 4.
- Channel 4 commissions drama of Stafford Hospital scandal Channel 4 press release