Health service whistleblower says: ‘I lost my shifts for raising my concerns about patient.’

By Jamie McDowell
Whistleblower Kevin Murray

Whistleblower Kevin Murray

This is the man who’s calling on Westminster to investigate what he calls a “dysfunctional Whistleblowing system in Northern Ireland.”

Kevin Murray, a nurse originally from Dublin, but who trained in England and worked in Northern Ireland for most of his career, said: “I had initially raised concerns last year over the treatment of a brain injury patient who required round-the-clock care.

“What I witnessed while the patient was under the so called care of the Belfast Trust constituted neglect and abuse.”

 

Just a few weeks ago, the 44-year-old was awarded an undisclosed sum of money from the A24 Group staffing agency which supplies staff to the Belfast Trust after being denied agency shifts.

Mr Murray has now taken to petitioning Westminster in the hope that he can have the issue of whistleblowing for doctors and nurses raised in parliament.

His online petition requires 100,000 signatures before the subject is brought before parliament. It can be found here.

Mr Murray claims that he was denied the shifts because of his attempts to report the case of the young patient in January of last year.

He said that when he used nursing notes, official Belfast Trust documents, to try to report his concerns, he was met with a wall of silence and was accused of breaching data protection laws.

“We as doctors and nurses have an incumbent duty of candour when on duty,” Mr Murray said.

“This means that when we see something that we feel puts a patient at risk, we must report it. But managers are using the Data Protection Act to try and silence us and brush us under the carpet.

“I tried to raise my concerns without success.When I tried to further my complaint, I stopped receiving shifts.

“I fear that whistleblowing complaints within the health sector in Northern Ireland are not being progressed. A system without a whistleblowing system of procedures cannot work. I did everything by the book, and still, it did not work.”

Mr Murray has now launched legal proceedings against Belfast Health and Social Care Trust for misfeasance in public office.

“I followed the guidelines and procedures,” He said. “I used the Nursing and Midwifery  Council guideline pamphlet called ‘Raising and Escalating Concerns’.

“I even wrote to Health Minister Edwin Poots, and I received a receipt of my query, but I’ve never heard anything back from him.”

“One can only assume that the Belfast Trust is a law unto itself. When I complained about the trust to other organisations, I was merely deflected back to the Trust, the organisation my concerns were initially raised about.”

In recent months the Sunday World has been investigating the case of Mr Murray and the patient at the heart of the case – working closely with the patient’s family.

When we asked the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust to comment on the concerns surrounding the case of the patient, they said: “Belfast Trust are fully aware of these issues however we cannot comment on any individual case.”

After losing his job, Mr Murray described his heartache at having to walk away from the profession he loves.

“I’ve worked in health care since I was 18years old,” he said. “I’ve been a registered nurse for the last 20 years. I consider myself an Irish man, but an English  nurse.

 “It cost the taxpayer £133,000 to train me as a nurse. That is an investment in me as a professional that I take very seriously. It’s soul destroying to see that I’m no more than a disposable investment.”

The Northern Ireland chair of the of campaign group Patients First, Aiden Hanna, told journal The Nursing Standard that Mr Murray’s case “highlights that there are no protections for whistleblowers in Northern Ireland.”

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