By Fiona Bell – NHS Patient Safety campaigner & NHS Whistleblower
It seems ludicrous that those of us that “speak up” or “blow the whistle” are punished in the most cruelest of ways, to a point that some never work again.
Then there are those at the top of the tree, who still appear to be Teflon coated.
Julie Lowe the chief executive who according to the Sunday People presided over 287 unexplained death at North Middlesex, has been found a new job allegedly by NHS Improvement. The organisation is responsible for patient safety.
It seems the trend continues, instead of ensuring Lowe is held to account for the harm and suffering caused while she ran the trust, she is found a new job in the NHS.
Faced with the damning CQC report in July, it was clear that Lowe had to go. It appears that she was quietly moved out without either being sacked or suspended.
Neither Lowe or her chairman of three years, John Carrier, a former Labour councilor will be held to account for the misery they have caused to both patients and staff.
The most recent report by CQC details bullying and racism, here’s the link to the full report.
http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/RAPNM I’m fully aware that CQC is often criticised, however, my sources assure me what has been reported is correct.
Lowe is now seconded to the North East London Sustainability and Transformation Programme where she is working as director of provider collaboration. (See picture below)
A source at North Middlesex Hospital advised that Lowe had been removed with the minimum of fuss on the orders of NHS Improvement. In a recent meeting with the new CEO, When questions were raised in regard to Ms. Lowe, the advice was to ask NHS Improvement.
She is understood to have kept her £160,000 salary and been given assurances that she will not be subject to any disciplinary action.
The deal is shrouded in secrecy.
I then formally wrote to the Trust about their chairman copying in the Department of Health ( Mr. Hunt’s office) The trust directed me to NHS Improvement, DH didn’t want to get involved.
My view is Lowe and Carrier should be formally suspended and investigated. If you’re in any doubt read the CCQ reports. It leaves you in no doubt that good staff have been trying to raise concerns, and feel totally ignored.
The Care Quality Commission should subject both to its fit and proper person test which is supposed to prevent failed NHS bosses from just being moved on rather than sacked.
What is happening to Ms. Lowe and Carrier is something the NHS has done time and time again: protect its own ( or at least those at the very top of the tree)
I’m advised North Middlesex Hospital do not intend to say anything further about the terms of Julie’s secondment as these are confidential matters subject to a legal agreement between themselves and Julie Lowe.
In regard to Mr. Carrier, he, of course, is still in post. Though I am told he did not attend today’s board meeting due to “sickness” If a whistleblower had come forward and spoken out publicly, I’m pretty confident,even after “Speak up review” they would not be in post, they would, in fact, be on the bones of their backsides, signing on down at their local jobcentre plus.
Comments from Sharmila:
Julie Lowe was the CEO of Ealing Hospital where potential fraud were reported. Instead of investigating the reported concerns independently, she had allowed this practice to continue
Undercover filming from ITVs Exposure team, 2 years on, discovered that no only had the fraudulent practices not stopped, but the team had filmed that consultants were taking direct payments from patients to undertake ultrasounds which went into their private account while working at Ealing.
Following this, the footage was brought to the attention of Julie Lowe, and an FOI was requested by the ITVs team. Instead of responding, Lowe, left Ealing within 3 months to join The North Middlesex Hospital.
She was allowed to continue to work as a CEO and whilst at North Middlesex, she had overseen serious unsafe patient safety practices.
Following damning report from CQC, Lowe has been moved again, to join as a Director of provider collaboration for North East London.
My question is simple: ‘how many times will Lowe be moved without accountability and at a high cost to patients and staff safety?’