STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

There is a sickness at the heart of the NHS – and if we pretend not to see it, we’ll condemn it to destruction – By Ian Birrell

You have to wonder if use of the word ‘trust’ in these hospital titles is cruel irony

Two weeks ago I went to a journalism awards ceremony at which the speaker was a man who blew the whistle on malpractice within the National Health Service rather than the usual comedian or TV personality inflicted on such events. Gary Walker, a former hospital trust chief executive, spoke passionately about how he was gagged, smeared and threatened in the most appalling manner after raising concerns that pressure to meet targets was compromising patient safety.

Walker was the most senior whistleblower in NHS history and his speech, highlighting the crucial public interest role of the media, was rather chilling. He said he knew it was custom for top staff to cover-up incompetence by gagging those that sought to speak out, yet was shocked to be subject to such a restrictive silencing order that he could not even mention its existence – then threatened with being sued for £500,000 when going public. This brave man, almost crushed fighting for decent care, claims he remains ‘blacklisted’ by the NHS.

This is all too often the plight of whistleblowers, as I have seen dealing with others who sought to highlight corruption and waste in public services. Politicians promise to protect them, new regulations get published, but nothing changes. And when mistakes come to light after cover-ups, no-one is held accountable – even when involving hundreds of premature deaths as in the shameful mid-Staffordshire hospital scandal. Some of those responsible even glided on to other top jobs.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/there-is-a-sickness-at-the-heart-of-the-nhs-and-if-we-pretend-not-to-see-it-well-condemn-it-to-a6771546.html

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Connor Sparrowhawk’s family say their concerns about his epilepsy were ignored

Filed under: Whistleblowing, ,

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