NHS chief accused of telling colleagues to ‘keep your mouths shut’ after a surgeon made an incision on the wrong hand because he ‘did not know his right from his left’

Mail on Line  25 July 2016  VICTORIA FINAN FOR MAILONLINE
  • Rachel Sansbury is accused of trying to get whistleblowers to keep quiet
  • The NHS chief asked staff not to ‘open that can of worms’, NMC heard
  • Sansbury allegedly feared her department was going to lose gold standard 

Rachel Sansbury allegedly told staff who raised concerns about incidents going unreported not to ‘open that can of worms’ at Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Rachel Sansbury allegedly told staff who raised concerns about incidents going unreported not to ‘open that can of worms’ at Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

An NHS chief silenced whistleblowers and told a colleague to keep quiet after a surgeon made an incision on the wrong hand because he ‘did not know his right from his left’.

Rachel Sansbury allegedly told staff who raised concerns about incidents going unreported not to ‘open that can of worms’ at Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Sansbury warned colleagues they should ‘keep their mouths shut about any issues’ as she feared the department would lose its ‘gold standard’, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard today.

Michael Collis, for the NMC, said: ‘This case relates to a period of time when the registrant was working as the head of nursing for the surgical division at Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

‘The registrant started in that role at some point in 2009. As part of her role, she had responsibility for clinical governance processes and ensuring compliance with trust and national guidelines.

‘These six charges relate to comments allegedly made to three separate individuals working in the clinical governance team for whom the registrant was the line manager.

‘In essence, relate to comments allegedly made that these three colleagues should not raise complaints or issues and that they change conclusions to prevent damage being caused to the clinical governance team or the surgical division as a whole.’

Mr Collis said two of the charges related to a meeting in October 2012.

‘Gail Gardiner [Colleague A] and Sarah Fay [Colleague B] were present in this meeting.

‘The purpose of this meeting was to determine whether or not Ms Fay wanted to proceed with bullying allegations made against another colleague.

‘During that meeting, however, the registrant berated Ms Gardiner and Ms Fay for the impact that raising concerns was having on the governance team.

‘She pointed out it was being noticed within the department and that they had worked hard to get a gold standard and it was being destroyed.

‘The registrant told these two individuals not to raise concerns outside the clinical governance team and that they should keep their mouths shut about any issues.

‘Charge 3 relates to allegations made by Ms Fay that on occasions she was instructed by the registrant to change the conclusions of investigations in order to make them sound more favourable.

Sansbury, who is present and represented at the hearing, denies all charges

Sansbury, who is present and represented at the hearing, denies all charges

‘Ms Fay resisted this request and submitted the investigations as she had worded them.

‘Charge 4 relates to an incident again involving Ms Fay and the registrant.. Ms Fay informed the registrant that she was receiving reports regarding staff failing to report incidents or under-reporting them.

‘When presented with that information, the registrant responded with “don’t open that can of worms as you don’t know what will come out,” or words to that effect.’

The hearing was told Anita Lowe [Colleague C] also worked with the clinical governance team.

‘It came to the attention of the registrant and the clinical governance team that a surgeon had made an incision on the wrong finger of a patient.

‘Ms Lowe accompanied the registrant to the theatres to address this emerging situation.

‘The surgeon, the registrant and general manager went into a private room and had conversations.

‘When the registrant came out, she informed Ms Lowe that the surgeon did not know his right from his left and had been diagnosed with dyspraxia.

‘The registrant told Ms Lowe not to tell anyone about this and stated “if you tell anyone he would be stopped from working and waiting lists would increase” or words to that effect.

‘As charge 6 makes clear, it is the NMC’s case that all these incidents were dishonest in the fact that they were efforts by the registrant to encourage her colleagues to conceal or misrepresent information that may have been damaging to the clinical governance team or the surgical team as a whole.’

Sansbury is charged with telling a colleague not to raise concerns outside the clinical governance team, telling colleagues to keep their mouths shut about any issues so as not to lose the department’s gold standard, asking a colleague to change the conclusions of investigations, telling a colleague ‘don’t open that can of worms’ in relation to failure to report incidents and telling a colleague not to tell anyone that a surgeon was diagnosed as dyspraxic.

Sansbury, who is present and represented at the hearing, denies all charges.

The hearing continues.

 

One thought on “NHS chief accused of telling colleagues to ‘keep your mouths shut’ after a surgeon made an incision on the wrong hand because he ‘did not know his right from his left’

  1. Pingback: NHS whistleblowing articles in 2016: TWO years post Francis Review with NO change | sharmilachowdhury

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