NHS whistleblower who lifted lid on treatment of vulnerable patients ‘was warned by managers: You can’t beat us’

Mail on Line 26 September 2014 By   SOPHIE BORLAND FOR THE DAILY MAIL
  • Dr Hayley Dare claims to have received poison-pen letter from one boss
  • The psychologist said she was told her children would suffer if she lost job
  • She has given evidence to Watford Employment Tribunal in Hertfordshire
  • Dr Dare, who worked at west London unit, came forward with claims in 2013

A whistleblower says her career was destroyed by NHS managers after warning about how vulnerable patients were coming to severe harm.

Dr Hayley Dare, 42, a psychologist,even claims to have received a poison-pen letter from one of her bosses saying her children would suffer if she lost her job which also threatened: ‘You cannot win, you cannot beat us’.

She said conditions were so appalling at the mental health unit where she worked that one 72-year-old woman died after staff forgot about her.

Whistleblower Dr Hayley Dare, 42, a psychologist, said conditions were so appalling at the mental health unit where she worked in Ealing, west London, that one 72-year-old woman died after staff forgot all about her

Whistleblower Dr Hayley Dare, 42, a psychologist, said conditions were so appalling at the mental health unit where she worked in Ealing, west London, that one 72-year-old woman died after staff forgot all about her

Dr Dare, who worked at the Orchard, run by West London Mental Health Trust, said staffing shortages meant patients were able to assault each other as well as doctors and nurses.

She has taken a case against the trust claiming she suffered detriment after whistleblowing over alleged poor patient care and bullying of staff.

Giving evidence to Watford Employment Tribunal in Hertfordshire yesterday, she said she raised concerns with chief executive Steve Shrubb last March.

She said she was spurred on by an NHS drive for whistleblowers to come forward in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal.

But Dr Dare claims managers threatened her and made her life miserable. And a month later, she said she received the poison-pen letter which, also stated ‘how hard it will be on your children if you are unemployed’.

She said: ‘I no longer have any confidence in my trust, given that the duplicitous behaviour is from the chief executive down. I fear my career has been destroyed as a consequence of whistleblowing and my health has suffered significantly.

‘The trust did not complete a full investigation into the concerns I raised and it did not conduct an independent investigation.’

She said that in March 2012, the trust’s forensic director Andy Weir closed a ward on the unit without warning. This led to a 72-year-old woman having to sleep in a padded unit because there was no bed for her and she died a fortnight later.

Dr Dare said: ‘Many staff members raised concerns with me about the lack of safety and high levels of violence on the ward, the level of self-harm that service users were engaging in and the failure of senior management to support clinical staff.

‘There was ongoing bullying from senior staff and Mr Weir. Despite being very fearful about the consequences and what would happen to me, I decided that I had no choice but to whistleblow, first thing on Monday, March 18, 2013, to the chief executive Steve Shrubb.’

Despite being very fearful about the consequences and what would happen to me, I decided that I had no choice but to whistleblow.
Dr Hayley Dare

She also said that managers had slashed staffing levels – despite concerns from senior doctors who warned it would put patients at risk. Two months later – last May – a female patient hanged herself.

Dr Dare took compassionate leave last May and returned to the unit last September. She said that since then, she has been offered only lowly positions for which she was overqualified.

And she said that since December, her treatment by the trust had left her suffering from depression, anxiety, migraines, panic attacks and trauma.

The Mail has repeatedly highlighted how whistleblowers have been victimised for raising the alarm over poor standards despite the fact that the NHS said last year it would make it easier for whistleblowers to come forward.

Ian Scott, representing the trust, accused Dr Dare of enjoying ‘conspiracy theories’ and denied that her colleagues were in a ‘cohort’ against her.

The tribunal continues.

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