Second NHS whistleblower tsar quits as Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Health sinks further into ‘crisis’

Mirror  3 APR 2016    
David Bell’s shock move back to his old NHS job follows the resignation of his boss, Dame Eileen Sills, before she even started work
David BellDeputy National Guardian David Bell has followed his old boss Dame Eileen Sills in stepping down VERY quickly

 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s vow to protect medics who expose patient safety fears has hit a fresh setback.

The UK’s new deputy NHS whistleblowing tsar has left after less than six weeks in the role.

David Bell’s abrupt move back to his old NHS job follows the resignation of his boss, Dame Eileen Sills.

Campaigners say the latest exit is a sign that the new Office of the National Guardian – due to open last Friday – is in a “crisis” that means patients “will suffer”.

It was to be a centre-piece of Mr Hunt’s pledge to protect whistleblowers following the Stafford Hospital scandal.

REX/ShutterstockJeremy Hunt
Campaigners claim Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is presiding over a ‘crisis’

Dr Minh Alexander, who was forced to quit after she exposed suicides and abuse at a mental health trust in Cambridgeshire, said of Mr Bell’s departure: “This shows the Office of the National Guardian is in crisis.

“I am not surprised – the design of the office has been flawed. What is needed is a truly independent body.

“It is patients who will suffer if the Government continues to insist upon flawed half measures.”

Read more: NHS bosses blew £61,000 on whistleblowing tsar who QUIT before starting job

The national office and a network of local Guardians based in every NHS trust were key demands of Sir Robert Francis’s review in February 2015 into NHS whistleblowing.

PAEileen Sills
Dame Eileen Sills quit before even starting work

The Care Quality Commission, the health watchdog involved in setting up the national office, declined to say if Mr Bell had quit or been pushed to return to his job at the NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit.

Dame Eileen quit last month, nine weeks after the Daily Mirror exposed how she would work only two days a week and would keep her £174,000-a-year job as chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.

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