STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Government urged to close junior doctors whistleblowing loophole 5 APRIL, 2016 BY SHAUN LINTERN – FOR HSA

The government should act to close a loophole in whistleblowing protection after a court ruled Health Education England’s relationship with junior doctors was outside the scope of employment law, HSJ has been told.

Legal experts said junior doctors continue to have whistleblowing protection from the actions of their employing trusts and this could include any subsequent action taken by HEE if it was based on information supplied by trust employees such as clinical supervisors.

The case of junior doctor Chris Day, who claims he was unfairly dismissed by Lewisham and Greenwich Trust for alleged whistleblowing in 2014, has caused widespread concern among trainees after an employment tribunal barred him from including HEE in his claim. An appeal ruling last month said Parliament had deliberately excluded junior doctors’ relationship with HEE from protection under employment law, adding that Dr Day was not an employee or worker of HEE.

Employment lawyers have told HSJ this does leave junior doctors at risk from detrimental treatment by HEE. Peter Daly, a solicitor at Bindmans law firm, said: “An employer is restricted from imposing a detriment on a whistleblower, but as HEE is not an employer there is no such restriction on HEE.

“This is a substantial gap in the protection for junior doctor whistleblowers. It is at odds with the government’s stated aim of protecting NHS whistleblowers, for example in the review by Sir Robert Francis QC. An amendment to the current legislation to address this situation would not be complex and might be achieved relatively quickly.”

He added that junior doctors could in theory judicially review a decision by HEE but this was likely to be “extremely expensive and realistically out of the financial reach of an individual doctor”.

Click on the link to read more

Government urged to close junior doctors whistleblowing loophole

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Filed under: Whistleblowing, ,

NHS Scotland whistleblowing line gets extra year – BBC News

A confidential whistleblowing line for NHS staff in Scotland has been extended for a year.

The Alert Line is designed to provide independent support for anyone wanting to raise concerns about practices within the health service. The Scottish government will also introduce a new Whistleblowing Officer to scrutinise the handling of cases.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said she wanted staff to be able to “speak up without fear”. Ms Robison added: “I have always been clear that health boards must ensure that it is safe and acceptable for staff to speak up about any concerns they may have, particularly in relation to patient safety.

“We will continue to work with the NHS across Scotland to ensure an open and transparent reporting culture where all staff have the confidence to speak up.”

The National Confidential Alert Line will be extended for one year from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017.

The phoneline, 0800 008 6112, will pass any concerns raised by employees on to the employer or the relevant regulatory organisation for investigation.

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Filed under: Whistleblowing,

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, ,

Gagged, smeared, sued and threatened by the NHS – a media whistleblower tells his story

A former hospital executive who blew the whistle to the BBC over concerns about patient safety has revealed that he remains blacklisted by the NHS two years on.

Gary Walker broke a gagging order in order to raise concerns about Lincolnshire NHS Trust in 2013. Speaking at this week’s British Journalism Awards he revealed how he was punished by the NHS for speaking out. He revealed that he agreed to break a gagging order imposed as part of his exit agreement when he was sacked from his NHS job in 2010 after “unrelenting persistent persuasion” by Andrew Hosken of the BBC.

He said: “It was February and I’d just watched the prime minster in the House of Commons announce the results of Sir Robert Francis’ review into what went wrong at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust. “That review, which took two years and cost more than £19m of taxpayers’ money, didn’t find a single person accountable for the premature deaths of hundreds perhaps thousands of people. “From my time in the NHS, I knew it was custom and practice for those in senior roles to hide their wrongdoing or incompetence by gagging those who attempted to speak out.

“I myself was an example of someone gagged for putting patient safety ahead of targets. Indeed the gag was so draconian I wasn’t even allowed to mention it existed.”

Click on the link to read more

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/hospital-chief-who-blew-whistle-patient-safety-bbc-blacklisted-working-nhs

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Gary Walker

Filed under: Whistleblowing, ,

How trust made secret 111 plan to hit all-important NHS targets

The deaths of up to 25 patients have come under investigation, after whistleblower reveals extent of policy that delayed help for seriously ill patients

In December last year, South East Coast Ambulance trust was facing major problems. Key NHS targets – to send an ambulance out within eight minutes for all cases designated as “life-threatening” were slipping far out of reach, with too few crews to send out to meet growing pressures as winter drew in. The creation of the controversial 111 phone line was supposed to ease demand for ambulances, making sure those with more minor needs could get help without an ambulance being dispatched.

Instead, the phoneline was adding to pressures on services, with fears that “risk averse” call handling were too often sending out ambulances. And so a plan was hatched. Behind closed doors, senior managers at the ambulance trust devised their own protocols. Any “life-threatening” calls which were sent their way would no longer get an automatic ambulance response.

Those which had been categorised as “Red 2”– life-threatening, but not the most immediately time-sensitive – would be allowed an extra ten minute delay, while the 999 service “re-triaged” them to decide on the best response. Such cases would still be counted as hitting the all-important NHS targets, implying that a response had still been received within eight minutes.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11967520/How-trust-made-secret-111-plan-to-hit-all-important-NHS-targets.html

EYF3DT South East Coast Ambulance Service Mercedes Ambulance in Eastbourne East Sussex UK with Stroke Act Fast sign attached blue light

 

Filed under: Whistleblowing, , ,

Why Jeremy Hunt’s promise to protect whistleblowers is nothing but hot air By David Drew and Minh Alexander

“On high death rates, failing hospitals and whistleblowing, we are calling time on the cover-up culture, and ushering in a new era of transparency”[1]

So promised Jeremy Hunt in February this year. However, Hunt’s latest moves have shown that his rhetoric is not to be matched by real protection for whistleblowers.

Instead, he’s plumped for local ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardians’, and a ‘National Guardian’. [2] [3] [4] This is very bad news for whistleblowers and for transparency. There is no evidence base for the Guardian model [5], and in our opinion it has been designed to fail.

The plan now adopted by Hunt was first presented in February’s Freedom to Speak Up Review into NHS whistleblowing. It was published by Sir Robert Francis QC the man previously hired to report into the failings of care at Mid Staffordshire and to devise a plan to ensure they never happened again. One of the key findings of the landmark 2013 Francis report into Mid Staffs was that staff were too scared to report poor care. Francis pressed for criminal sanctions against whistleblower suppression. [6] But disappointingly in his new whistleblowing review, Francis rejected criminal sanctions.

Click on the link to read more

http://linkis.com/opendemocracy.net/ou/pEQj2

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Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, , , ,

Health staff told ‘don’t speak to press’ after regional daily exposé

Health bosses have warned potential whistleblowers not to speak to the local press after a regional daily revealed hundreds of patients’ lives were being put at risk by staff shortages.

The Sentinel, Stoke, reported last month that there had been more than 400 “alarming incidents” raised by district nurses to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust in the past two years. The failings, listed in a confidential dossier which was leaked to the paper, included cases of overworked staff bursting into tears at the end of their shifts, speeding to get to their next job and cutting their visits short. The register, which was passed on by an anonymous source, also added patients were at risk of developing deadly pressure sores because the nurses were too busy to complete their rounds.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2015/news/health-staff-warned-not-to-leak-to-daily-after-damning-dossier-splash/?

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Filed under: NHS, Whistleblowing, ,

Is another NHS scandal brewing?

Do you think there is another NHS scandal brewing? Please fill in our one question survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NHS-scandal

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Lethal. Shocking. Unacceptable. Dysfunctional. Failures at every level. So said the report into maternity care at Cumbria’s Furness General Hospital.

But as was pointed out repeatedly as the inquiry published its findings on Tuesday, the parallels with Stafford Hospital are chillingly similar. In fact, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt went as far as calling it a “second” Stafford Hospital – albeit it on a smaller scale.

In both cases poor care was covered up by a culture of secrecy and intimidation, priorities seemed to have been distorted by the pursuit of foundation trust status and the wider NHS missed opportunities to deal with the problems at an earlier stage.

In both cases it led to unnecessary suffering – and it was left to patients to expose the truth. So can we be sure this is not happening elsewhere? It’s a question that always gets asked when these reports are published – and the sad truth is that there can be no guarantees.

Dr Bill Kirkup, the chair of the Morecambe Bay Inquiry, named after the trust which ran the hospital, admitted as such. He said “there could be elements” of what he found happening elsewhere when pressed by journalists.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31728724

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Filed under: Hospital, NHS, NHS Blunders, Whistleblowing, , ,

Third of NHS staff do not feel secure about raising care concerns, By Will Hazell Nursing Times

Nearly one third of NHS employees do not agree that they would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice, according to the 2014 NHS staff survey.

The survey results, published 24th February 2015, paint a picture of increasing pressure on those who work within the health service. Of the survey’s 29 “key findings”, 15 have deteriorated since last year, 11 have improved, one has remained the same, and two cannot be compared due to changes in the questions. Sixty-four per cent of staff surveyed said if a friend or relative needed treatment they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation, a slight decrease on the 65% recorded in 2013.

Picker Institute Europe, which carried out the survey, said the fall was “concerning” because the measure is strongly related to patient experiences of care. Fifty-six per cent of staff said they would recommend their organisation as a place to work, down from 58% in 2013. There was a marked decrease in the number of staff satisfied with their level of pay, from 38% in 2013 to 33% this year, representing the first drop in pay satisfaction since 2011. Only 29% felt there are enough staff for them to do their jobs properly, down one percentage point on the previous year.

Click on the link to read more

Third of NHS staff do not feel secure about raising care concerns

Click on the link to see full survey from Picker Institute Europe

http://www.pickereurope.org/news/picker-institute-europe-responds-nhs-staff-survey-2014/

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Filed under: Hospital, NHS, Uncategorized, Whistleblowing, , ,

Exclusive: Pioneer nurse warns that ‘whistleblowing guardians’ must be screened. By Nicola Merrifield, Nursing Times

Nurse whistleblower Helene Donnelly has called for “rapid” action to ensure the introduction of the new “guardian” role recommended by Sir Robert Francis is not “used and abused”.

Ms Donnelly said she wanted to see a checklist of qualities and standards drawn up swiftly for the new “freedom to speak up guardians” to avoid the “wrong people” being selected for the job. The role was a key recommendation of Sir Robert’s independent review of whistleblowing – Freedom to Speak Up – which looked at the treatment of  staff who speak out and what measures should be introduced to create a more open reporting culture within the NHS. Sir Robert’s report, published last week, said that a “freedom to speak up guardian” should be appointed in every NHS trust to provide independent support and advice to staff about raising concerns. This full-time employee should be able to intervene if the complainant suffers any harm and must be able to escalate concerns outside of the organisation to bodies, said the report.

Click on the link below to read more

Exclusive Pioneer nurse warns that ‘whistleblowing guardians’ must be screened

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Helene Donnelly

Filed under: Whistleblowing, , , ,

Jeremy Hunt: message to NHS staff about whistleblowing

The Secretary of State for Health talks about NHS culture change and whistleblowing.

Two years ago, Sir Robert Francis published his public inquiry report on the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. His findings shook the NHS to its core, and I made it my priority as Health Secretary to work hand-in-glove with all of you to ensure that such an unspeakable tragedy could never occur in our NHS again. As a result of your energy, passion and commitment, the NHS is turning a corner.

Today I am publishing a report entitled Culture Change in the NHS   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/culture-change-in-the-nhs  which outlines the work that has been done to implement Sir Robert’s recommendations over the last couple of years.

Click on the link to read more

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-hunt-message-to-nhs-staff-about-whistleblowing

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Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

Whistleblowing: NHS crushes those who speak out, Sir Robert Francis QC warns – Report out 11th Feb

Francis whistle blowing report due out Wednesday 11th February. Many of our friends Fiona Bell, David Drew, Sharmila Chowdhury and many more will be attending Westminster, they will also be having a meeting with Sir Robert Francis. Good luck to all. Our thoughts are with you, and thank you. Joanna 

The NHS should exploit the idealism of its doctors and nurses – not crush those put patients first, warns Sir Robert Francis, ahead of his landmark report on whistleblowing

Sir Robert Francis QC is poised to publish the results of a landmark inquiry into perhaps the greatest NHS scandal – the failure of the health service to take heed when its own doctors and nurses warn that patient safety is at risk. His review has taken two months longer than expected, after he was deluged with more than 18,000 submissions. Senior doctors and nurses told how their careers were left on the scrapheap, after they tried to alert NHS managers of unsafe practices and cost-cutting risking lives.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11403069/Whistleblowing-NHS-crushes-those-who-speak-out-Sir-Robert-Francis-QC-warns.html

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Sir Robert Francis

Filed under: Whistleblowing, , ,

Whistleblowing – Personal issue or does this need of further investigation? You decide – by Fiona Bell

Read the attachment then tell me is this a personal employment issue or does this require further investigation as I have requested. This is the response you get from those in power , when you blow the whistle in order to save life, 600 submissions to the Francis review so far, I really thought having met those in power many times now, they would realise, we really do expect change , not more bullshit. Fiona Bell

Dear Mr Hunt,

 Below is the response from your office from my email highlighting the concerns of a whistle blower , The concerns raised were advising of a nurse whom allegedly went around turning off the drips off elderly end of life patients in order to speed up their deaths .

 Therefore I would like some one to explain to me and the public , how this is a personal employment matter? I’m pretty sure if you asked any member of the public, ” is this a personal employment issue or a matter that requires further investigation and full support for the whistle blower,”? Common sense would prevail and the public would expect a full investigation of all allegations.

 The bog standard response from your office is part of all that is wrong and only aids those trying to cover up wrong doing. Quite frankly a disgrace that the DoH continue their “business as usual approach towards the whistle blower” it does not inspire confidence for the future or any future recommendations that may be made by the review .

 For the record I am not asking for a discussion, I am requesting that these allegations are investigated fully by an independent body.

 There are far too many whistle blowers left without employment and astoundingly still, in some very recent cases gagged , Those that cover up or do wrong are promoted or let go quietly.

 Regards                                                                                           

 Fiona Bell                                                 10169444_10152798072303449_1913700109705851265_n

The Reply 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: <DoNotReply@dh.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: 6 November 2014 16:53
Subject: Response to your Query : – Ref:DE00000892418 – your recent correspondence to Jeremy Hunt and Ed Jones

Dear Ms Bell,

Thank you for your correspondence of 14 October to Jeremy Hunt and Ed Jones about Mr xxxxxx. I have been asked to reply.

The Department of Health has noted the concerns in your correspondence. However, as mentioned in previous replies to you, ministers and Department of Health officials are not in a position to discuss personal employment issues.

Thank you for raising your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Vooght
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health

Filed under: Uncategorized, Whistleblowing,

13,000 died needlessly at 14 worst NHS trusts, full report out this week

Full report out this week

• Name 14 hospitals as having excess rates of death, with hundreds of patients dying needlessly at each of them since 2005;
• Severely criticise the worst hospital, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which had 1,600 more deaths than would have been expected in seven years – a higher death toll than that at Stafford;
• Show that the warning signs were there for managers and ministers to see, including alarming levels of infections, patients suffering from neglect and appalling blunders such as surgery performed on the wrong parts of bodies

Just shocking how this country has allowed this to happen and its still going on

Click on the link to read more:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/heal-our-hospitals/10178296/13000-died-needlessly-at-14-worst-NHS-trusts.html

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

Such wicked people in this world. Keep strong Julie…

Hospital heroine is victim of death threats

The NHS whistleblower who exposed systematic neglect and abuse at Stafford Hospital has been forced to move out of her home after a five-year campaign of hate mail and death threats.

Read more

http://www.express.co.uk/news/health/397183/Hospital-heroine-is-victim-of-death-threats

Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

And still nurses live in fear and intimidation at work for telling the truth.

Whistleblowing nurses ‘discouraged’

A quarter of nurses have been discouraged about blowing the whistle on concerns over patient care, a poll has suggested.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey found that 24% of nurses said they had been warned off raising concerns – in spite of the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Read more  http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/394038/Whistleblowing-nurses-discouraged

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

Value your life and your families? THINK…and do something about it.

We need everyone to group together, Strength in numbers….
 

NHSComplaint initiates Private Criminal Prosecution against Sir David Nicholson

Deaths were covered up in the tens of thousands by Sir David Nicholson and other civil servants who are now seeking to abuse their position by protect him through the various acts of Misconduct in Public Office. NHSComplaint has sufficient evidence to bring a Private Criminal Prosecution against Sir David Nicholson on behalf of victims and their families deaths of MidStaffs and other parts of the NHS that were entirely preventable had information been acted on instead of being suppressed.  NHSComplaint and it’s supporters are setting up a campaign group specifically to organise and facilitate the private criminal prosecution of Sir David Nicholson. Please support this initiative in anyway you can.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

Mid Staffs comment: This is why the NHS must defend its whistleblowers

The Mid Staffs scandal shows the NHS needs staff who are prepared to blow the whistle more than ever, says Stephen Barclay MP.

In the wake of the Francis Report into the deaths of up to 1,200 people at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust; and the news that further hospitals are under investigation for higher than expected death rates, it is clear our current system of regulation has failed.
One way to improve this is to offer greater support for whistleblowers. Given the complex and rapidly changing nature of healthcare regulators will always be playing catch up. It is those on the ground who have a unique vantage point to uncover wrongdoing and ensure patient safety.
Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9865521/Mid-Staffs-comment-This-is-why-the-NHS-must-defend-its-whistleblowers.html

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

NHS staff should own up to mistakes, Mid Staffs public inquiry recommends

Patient groups and Lib Dems support move as a report into the worst hospital care scandal in decades is published today

NHS staff should be put under a legal “duty of candour” to own up when mistakes affect patients, a public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire hospital care scandal will recommend.

The move will form part of a series of measures designed to make hospitals safer which Robert Francis QC will outline in his report of the 31-month public inquiry into what is widely considered to be the worst care scandal in many years.

Read more : http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/06/nhs-mid-staffordshire-public-inquiry

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Andrew Lansley and key health figures meet at NHS Whistleblowing Summit

Health secretary Andrew Lansley MP was joined by senior representatives from trade unions, patient groups, royal colleges and other representative healthcare bodies in a Whistleblowing Summit. This Summit was organised by the NHS Employers organisation to identify collective ways to help staff raise concerns and support whistleblowing, which is crucial to the safety and care of patients.

Read more: http://www.healthcare-today.co.uk/news/andrew-lansley-and-key-health-figures-meet-at-nhs-whistleblowing-summit/22043/

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

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