The Daily Mail
- Police are investigating claims made by NHS whistleblower Gary Walker
- Allegations said to implicate former and serving senior NHS managers
- Lincolnshire Police have confirmed they are investigating
Police are investigating whistleblower Gary Walker’s claims of a ‘cover-up’ at the top of the NHS that led to deaths, the Mail can reveal.
The allegations implicate several former and serving senior NHS managers who could now be interviewed in the inquiry.
Mr Walker was dismissed from his job as chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust in 2010 after raising fears that a Labour drive to meet targets compromised safety. He claims a £500,000 taxpayer-funded gagging order was used to stop him speaking out.
Last year, after the trust he ran and several others were warned about high mortality rates, he broke his silence in the Mail.
It is understood that the former chairman of the trust, David Bowles, has also spoken to police about his concerns over safety.
Lincolnshire police yesterday confirmed they were investigating. Earlier this year Karl McCartney, Conservative MP for Lincoln, asked police to look into Mr Walker’s story.
He included a letter sent by Mr Walker on October 28, 2013, to former health secretary Andy Burnham. In it, Mr Walker alleges he told former NHS head Sir David Nicholson of his concerns about patient safety, but these were not addressed. Sir David insists that he took appropriate action. The letter also claims Sir David’s right-hand woman.
Dame Barbara Hakin, who is still in post, oversaw a dangerous target culture. Last year, she was cleared by the General Medical Council of acting in a ‘bullying’ manner and disregarding patient safety.
Mr Walker’s letter alleges that Mr Burnham must have known of his concerns and the gagging order, something Mr Burnham denies.
It refers to a ‘cover-up that led to patients dying’ and says scandals at Mid Staffordshire and United Lincolnshire NHS trusts were the result of ‘either political cover-up or because you were deliberately misled’ by civil servants.
Lincolnshire police said: ‘We have received a report connected to United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust. Inquiries are being conducted into this report, as is standard practice.’
A spokesman for Mr Burnham said he had not been spoken to by police. A spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was not able to comment on an ongoing investigation but would ‘co-operate fully’ with the inquiry and any requests from police.