img-20120511-00014 (1)I am in my mid-fifties and live in Ealing with my beautiful Canaan Dog, Pie, who  can smile and is very talented.

live in a small end of terrace house with really wonderful neighbours. I a have son named Alister.

I have no brothers or sisters. This however, did not mean that I was spoilt. In fact my mother was firm with me as I growing up. IIf I really wanted something I had to wait for birthday or Christmas, even though my father was a doctor and we were never really poor. There were times, where we did have to tighten our belts, like many families. During my early years, I was always surrounded by animals as we always had pets. So I have a real fondness for all animals – well, except maybe rats, snakes, cockroaches, spiders, …………. Ha! Ha!

I am very creative by nature and love most things arty. Like most women I love clothes, in particular dresses and coats. I have some that are over 20 years old – mainly because they are beautifully designed and I cannot bear to part with them. Some of the cheapest things are the best. I love Ted baker, and Lulu Guinness. Most of which I have bought on special offers or in the sale. Like my mother I like getting the best value for money and feel hard done by when things are reduced after buying them at a higher price.

I trained in radiography at Hammersmith Hospital where I was offered my first job on completion, in 1983. After 2 years, I was promoted to a senior II radiographer at King’s College hospital. Following this I was again promoted at The Middlesex Hospital, now part of UCLH. I was then internally promoted as a Superintendent radiographer in charge of Uroradiology. I then in 2003, moved to Ealing Hospital as a Deputy Imaging Manager, so that I could be nearer to home and to be closer to Alister. In 2009, I was promoted to Imaging Services Manager and a budget holder for the department. I was in charge of 60 staff in the department. Whilst in post, in 2009, I discovered irregularities with attendances of 2 consultants, Miranda Harvie and Peter Schnatterbeck on regular basis, consultants claiming of overtimes not worked, consultants being paid for sessions whilst they were moonlighting, a consultant being paid for 6.5 days per week, whilst in department for half that time.  Radiology department was always overspent. As I was the budget holder, it would have been fraudulent of me to sign off wrong attendances and time sheets. I subsequently raised my concerns to line managers within the Trust. As problems persisted, this was escalated to top managers within the Trust which included John Coleman – Director of Operations, Paul Stanton – Director of HR, David Pratt – Director of Finance, William (Bill)  Lynn – Medical Director, Julie Lowe – Chief Executive. Coleman, Pratt and Lowe have left Ealing Trust and working at other hospitals.

In addition, I discovered, that  Mike McWha, the PACS/RIS manager had failed to upload approximately 100 patient’s data over 6 month period, so compromising their treatment and possible prognosis.

Mike McWha, on advice of Miranda Harvie made verbal false counter allegations against me. Despite their being no evidences, against me I was escorted out of the building, suspended and dismissed. Luckily, I took all my documented evidences with me as I left the premises. Nothing happened to either the consultants or the PACS/RIS manager. Staff wrote in support of me which Trust ignored. I took my case to court at Interim Relief Hearing, with help of  Edward Cooper and Julie Morriswhere under special situations such as mine, where dismissal is due to whistleblowing can be heard. I won with kind and expert help of Helen Mountfield, QC,  and James Laddie, QC. Only handful of cases have won this as it’s difficult to prove that a dismissal has been a direct result of whistleblowing and there is only 1 week to make application from being dismissed. Paul Stanton, representing Ealing Trust, refused to let me return to my post when asked by Judge Mahoney. I also subsequently won the appeal hearing against my dismissal. Trust again refused.

During filming of documentary on NHS whistle-blowers by BBC’s Inside Out programme, I met with other whistle-blowers,  such as Dr David Drew  and Ramon Niekrash, which was of great support to me. 

I had applied for numerous permanent jobs but without success. One Trust offered me a post, only to withdraw within 2 weeks later, when they discovered I was a whistle-blower.

I had written to Andrew Lansley, George Osborne, Ruth Carnall and David Cameron. All replied they could not get involved. There was no help. Despite all stating they support whistle-blowers, there is in reality no help. Whistle-blowers are left alone to fend for themselves.

My friends, neighbours and my parents have been wonderful and supportive. My dog, Pie has been a constant companion, and has kept me going. Because of her I had to go out for walks every day. The value of unquestioned love has been priceless. She has kept me together. I do believe humans have lot to learn from animals. I also took up hobbies like card making and reading about gemmology – I always loved sparkly stones!!

My case dragged on and eventually settled out of court with 2 years pay in 2012. Out of which I paid legal fees of £77,500. My legal fees had escalated to £130,000 on a ‘no win, no fees’ basis, but thankfully I did not end up paying this sum. After paying legal costs from my 2 years pay there not much given to me in  terms of settlement to live on, given that I faced career, income and pension losses. In addition, there has been no independent inquiry into my raised concerns and those involved held accountable. Ealing Trust has wasted substantial sums of tax payer’s money by turning a blind eye on possible fraud  and on legal costs, which should have been spent on patients. In fact some of the persons involved appeared to have received ‘a pat on the back’.  William Lynn promoted to the Deputy Chief Executive, Akib Rafique made a Clinical Director and Mike McWha received ‘Top mentor ‘ award (page 3) by the Trust.

About a year ago, ITV’s surveillance team caught on camera Miranda Harvie and Akkib Rafique, new Clinical Director, accepting direct payment for ultrasounds within Ealing Trust, which went to their own accounts. They were still not fulfilling their contractual hours. Following FOI from ITV to Julie Lowe, Chief Executive, asking whether she knew about these activities, Lowe took up post at North Middlesex Hospital within 3 months

In August 2013, I discovered I had breast cancer with metastasis in my lungs from routine breast screening. I have completed chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Some of the nodules in my lungs remain – worryingly. I am continuing to have treatment every 3 weeks. Many senior consultants believe my cancer is due to the stress I have been under due to whistleblowing. Thankfully, due to a wonderful dog walker and a friend, Walter Wyeth, I have not had to place Pie in a kennel and be separated. The trauma would have been too much too to bear. I can cope with dealing with cancer but not being separated from Pie.

I will lose my home in few months as I will no longer have funds to pay as my funds will have ran out and I have no income. With history of whistleblowing coupled with cancer, I doubt I will ever find permanent employment again. Being homeless with cancer is not something I am looking forward to.

Despite having one of the strongest whistleblowing cases in the country, where I have won Interim relief Hearing, whistleblowing has destroyed my career, pension, health and now my possible loss of home. Despite this, there is still no help. Several letters have been written to Jeremy Hunt by myself, my MP, CQC and Stephen Dorrell. I have now met with Ed Jones, Special Advisor to Jeremy Hunt  as well as Jeremy Hunt himself. He has yet to remedy my situation, which has been ongoing for nearly 6 years.

3 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Meeting with Ed Jones, Special Advisor to Jeremy Hunt-Sharmila Chowdhury 16 April 2014 | sharmilachowdhury

  2. heroic.in a system when doing the decent proper thing becomes heroic. shame on it all.none of your amazing work is in vain. and thank you !

  3. I fully empathise with you and the situation, I experienced much the same kind of treatment at UNISON North West after blowing the whistle on a culture of bullying and harrassment I experienced working in the Cumbria Region.

    After 6 months of going through the Easter channels of the Greivance processes, and UNISON management refusing to investigate, I resigned for health reasons.
    Now self employed, working everyday to achieve my goal of walking through Arena Point in Manchester as a Labour Councillor to expose the bully boys and girls and hold management to account for hypocrisy and double standards.
    Everyday brings me closer to justice, my faith in Jesus protected me and keeps me going.

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