By Sharmila Chowdhury 14 December 2014
Fiona Bell, NHS whistleblower and an avid campaigner, wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State and Ed Jones, Special Advisor, in 14 October 2014, raising serious concerns on behalf of a Morecambe Bay whistleblower, regarding a nurse who allegedly went around turning off the drips off elderly end of life patients in order to speed up their deaths.
Fiona, hoped that due to the serious nature of her complaint, matter would be urgently investigated.
However, to her amazement, Fiona received the following response:
Date: 6 November 2014 16:53
Subject: Response to your Query : – Ref:DE00000892418 – your recent correspondence to Jeremy Hunt and Ed Jones
Our ref: DE00000892418
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.
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health
Shockingly, Department of Health instead of urgently investigating, responded by viewing early demise of the elderly patients as an employment issue and refused to comment.
Fiona, in her true form, refused to give up and wrote again:
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.
The matter was then brought to the attention of the media via this website.
This was blogged and was tweeted and retweeted by the public as they were appalled by
the response from Department of Health. It was clear that despite Francis’s Review and huge awareness of whistleblowing and raising concerns, promises by Department of Health to be committed to change, this has not happened in practical terms. Instead Department of Health had carried on brushing aside raised concerns as ’employment issue’, irrespective of what has been highlighted. There had been, disappointingly, no change in responses from Department of Health to people raising concerns.
With continuing pressure from the media, department of Health, seven weeks later, apologized and sent the following letter:
Clearly, it still takes a determined campaigner, the media and public pressure to direct the Department of Health into appropriate action. This is despite of much publicised NHS whistleblowing cases, and promises of change by the Secretary of State, who commissioned the Francis’s review. We have a very long way to go.
For more details on the case: https://sharmilachowdhury.com/2014/12/14/ignoredwhistleblowers-claim-of-nurse-who-killed-slowly/