An NHS worker who says she faces being fired for whistleblowing is going on hunger strike outside the Department of Health.
Jade Taylor, 46, has set up camp in Whitehall with placards, bags, and bottles of water. She has vowed to stay as long as she could – until she gets a meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Taylor, who leads a community team in a mental health trust, started speaking up about her concerns over patient and staff safety after the mistreatment of her parents at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Their deaths prompted her to complain about a ‘plethora of concerns’ in her own trust, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation, including allegations of bullying and the mistreatment of whistleblowers.
She started her hunger strike at 7pm on Monday before taking up her post in Whitehall yesterday.
‘The trust I work for are saying that I have lost trust and confidence in them,’ she said, speaking outside the DoH last night. ‘I am not accepting that.
‘I want them to properly investigate my concerns. I refuse to resign and I’m not going anywhere.’
Two years later her mother Maureen, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was seen at Stafford Hospital’s A&E and was admitted to stay overnight.In 2006 Taylor’s 67-year-old stepfather Andrew Panayiotes received care at the now-defunct Mid Staffs trust. He died after contracting an infection following surgery to remove a tumour.
However, Taylor says her mother was discharged inappropriately on her own the next day, which caused considerable distress. She was 66 years old.
‘Because of these experiences – whistleblowing was a real issue in Stafford – because of that I’m not going to give up on raising my concerns.’
She says she raised issues with trust bosses and the Care Quality Commission over bullying, patient and staff safety, the ‘culture’ and the treatment of whistleblowers.
However she claims they weren’t dealt with properly, and she was ‘overloaded and bullied’ as a result.
Now Taylor claims trust bosses have called a meeting to consider her future this week. She isn’t attending the meeting, but will be represented by the Royal College of Nursing.She has been off work sick for about a year, due to stress and a mild heart condition.
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We are unable to comment directly about Jade’s case as it is ongoing and we respect her right to confidentiality.
‘However, we take concerns about patient safety and quality of care extremely seriously and have a strong culture of encouraging and supporting our staff to speak up.
‘To date, all whistleblowing cases raised with us have been thoroughly investigated to the full satisfaction of our regulators, and where necessary we have implemented improvements to address any lessons learned.’