NHS ‘whistleblower’ demands apology and comparable job

Adam Brimelow
Gary Walker

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A former NHS boss who says he was sacked for raising patient safety concerns has asked the health secretary for an apology and a “comparable” job.

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, ex-United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust boss Gary Walker argues he is a whistleblower whose actions have been vindicated.

But he says he has been blacklisted from working for the health service.

The Department of Health in England says it will be looking carefully at the issues raised in the letter.

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I continue to be blacklisted by the NHS despite a high achieving career prior to raising concerns about patient safety”

Gary WalkerLetter to Health Secretary

Gary Walker’s letter says that, as chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, he warned senior health officials that patients would come to harm if it was forced to comply with NHS targets.

The letter sets out, point-by-point, why he believes he is a whistleblower, and how – in his view – this led to his dismissal and being blacklisted by the NHS.

He goes on to argue that his actions were vindicated by events, as evidence grew of rising death rates and a high number of safety incidents, but says he was “gagged” by a compromise agreement, which he broke two years ago.

Mr Walker cites recent reports that looked into whistleblowing from the health select committee of MPs and Sir Robert Francis QC as supporting his call for an apology and “practical redress”.

He writes: “The practical redress you offer will need to be individual to those who raised concerns and the harm they suffered but I would expect that whistle-blowers simply want an apology and a job that is comparable to the one they were forced from.”

‘High-achiever’

The letter is copied to the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

It also includes a full CV which, he says represents a “highly successful career” which was ended as a result of raising concerns about patient safety and misconduct.

He says: “I continue to be blacklisted by the NHS despite a high-achieving career prior to raising concerns about patient safety.”

In response to the letter, a department of health spokesperson, said: “We want to make the NHS the safest health system in the world and creating an open and honest culture where patients and staff are listened to is vital to improving care.

“This government has made important changes to protect whistle-blowers by outlawing gagging clauses in contracts and introducing new laws in this parliament to protect those who speak up.”

The department says every NHS manager and leader is to have training on how to raise concerns.

2 thoughts on “NHS ‘whistleblower’ demands apology and comparable job

  1. The problem for whistleblowers and complainants who are not CEOs is that if their requests for reinstatement were to be addressed, they would return to be targetted and victimised with renewed vigour.

    Save ‘moving a few deckchairs on the Titanic’, the widespread bullying culture has been left unaddressed by Sir Robert Francis’ box ticking, management friendly report.

    The same conditions that existed prior to the person’s whistleblow are now waved through by Francis and ready to flourish anew. Managers will continue to target and force whistleblowers and complainants out, with the collusion of unions.

  2. Would we teach our children these ethics, why are we totally ignoring the problems within the NHS, we hear what’s going wrong and what needs to be investigated and changed, yet the innocent lose their jobs and are black listed, something needs to change and soon.

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