December 2014: ‘Landmark’ legal win for cardiologist sacked for whistleblowing on patient safety
January 2015: Health secretary urged to lauch inquiry as tribunal rejects Croydon NHS trust’s appeal of whistleblower’s sacking
David Drew, a doctor who has campaigned for better protection for NHS whistleblowers, wrote to the health secretary in January and again in February urging him to launch an inquiry into the trust’s treatment of Dr Beatt and its chief executive, John Goulston.
His second letter said: “Dr Beatt should be exonerated, reinstated and receive a full apology from the managers responsible for his mistreatment.
“Then, as I requested in my letter of January 15 I believe you should set up an inquiry into how the Trust board at Croydon conspired to destroy the career of a good doctor.”
Mr Hunt, who earlier this month told the Croydon Guardian he was unaware of the case, replied to the doctor this week.
He said: “[T]he employment of the chief executive of a trust is a matter for the trust’s board. It is for the trust concerned to decide whether a chief executive is fit for the job.
“If Dr Drew wishes to raise any concerns about the conduct of a chief executive of an NHS trust, he may wish to contact its board directly. Alternatively, he may wish to contact the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), which provides support, oversight and governance for all NHS trusts in delivering high quality services.”
But Dr Drew said: “Since my concerns involve the [Croydon NHS] board including the chairman I see little point in writing to them.”
He has reported the case to the TDA’s chairman.
In February, Sir Robert Francis QC published an independent report on NHS whisteblowers, who he concluded were bullied and intimidated amid a “climate of fear”.
Following its publication, Mr Hunt, who commissioned the review, told Parliament: “The whole House will be profoundly shocked at the nature and extent of what has been revealed today.
“The message must go out today that we are calling time on bullying, intimidation and victimisation which has no place in our NHS.”
Dr Drew, in his strongly critical second letter to the health secretary, said: “Your own silence on this matter speaks volumes. And your inaction can only embolden bullying managers and make decent NHS staff even more reluctant to speak up for their patients. How can this help promote a safe reporting culture?
“It is clear that Dr Beatt’s situation is no better for having won at the tribunal nor for the work of Sir Robert Francis in exposing the scandalous treatment whistle-blowers are subjected to. No-one has called time on his oppressors.”
An employment tribunal ruled in October last year Dr Beatt had been unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing on patient safety and staff bullying.
An appeals tribunal subsequently found Croydon Health Services had no grounds to appeal the judgment, but the trust still hopes to have that ruling overturned.
Mr Hunt is a coward, he only bellows and shouts about the scandal in a general way but is reluctant to take the bull by the horns. The NHS can’t afford the money that is wasted on these matters. How many people have died waiting for treatments that may have been available faster had money not been wasted in these matters? Impossible to calculate perhaps but it’s time this farce ended. The question now is how suitable is Mr Hunt is for the post of health secretary. Someone involved in changes to the airline industry would perhaps be more suited as the change in culture there was fast and effective. A new broom sweeps clean.