For the past two weeks, repeal activists online have devoted an enormous amount of time in an effort to discredit or disprove the video and billboard ads in which Mr. Noel Pattern appeared.
Taken together, the video and billboard ads made four separate statements: First, that Mr. Pattern had worked in an NHS Hospital in the early 2000s. Second, that while he had worked there he had prepared patients for theatre, and taken them to recovery after surgery. Third, that he had from time to time been present in theatre while during surgical terminations of pregnancy, and fourth, that he had witnessed what he felt to be unethical treatment of foetal remains.
We understand that the Ipswich NHS Trust has confirmed the first two claims, and somewhat grudgingly confirmed the third, albeit by saying that Mr. Pattern would only “rarely” have been in theatre. They are unwilling or unable to confirm the final claim, but this is not surprising given the nature of Mr. Pattern’s disclosures. After all, Mr. Pattern’s story does not reflect well on the hospital, or the way it performed abortions.
When Mr. Pattern approached Save the 8th, we asked him to provide documentation to us proving that he worked in the hospital concerned, in the role he claimed. He provided a number of documents he had received from that hospital, including two certificates awarded to him in June 2005, and a certificate he said was awarded to him in 2005 by City and Guilds which he said proved his work as an Operating Department Practitioner, something that has subsequently been confirmed by the hospital in an email from its current head of HR Information, a Mr. David Everett. These documents are attached to this statement, below. We understand that Mr. Pattern has undertaken to provide the original copy of the latter document to the Times.ie, and we expect him to do so. Taken together with confirmation from the hospital that he was employed there in 2000, before beginning ODP training, we have no reason whatsoever to doubt that Mr. Pattern was, as our ad says, employed by Ipswich NHS Hospital Trust, in the role he says he was, in the early 2000s.
Throughout this process, Mr. Pattern has been asked to substantiate every claim he has made. This is only right and fair. However it is notable that the media has not asked very reasonable questions of the hospital concerned:
1) If Mr. Pattern was, as it says, preparing patients for abortions in the early 2000s before he had received his ODP training, why is that?
2) If Mr. Pattern was, as it says he was, even rarely involved in in-theatre operations without any medical training, why is that?
3) If Mr. Pattern’s account of the treatment of foetal remains is inaccurate, what is the accurate version?
Oddly, the YES campaign and the media have been very keen to discredit Mr. Pattern’s story, but remarkably unwilling to ask questions of the hospital in which he worked. Even if every claim that the YES campaign makes about Mr. Pattern is true, then the very best scenario is that a UK hospital has admitted employing somebody totally unqualified to help with abortions. This should surely worry voters, given the UK-style model set to be introduced here following any Yes vote.
We understand why the YES campaign is so eager to discredit this ad – it is a very powerful story, told by someone with first hand experience of what “choice” in many cases actually means. We stand over the ad that we published.