Update on day 6 of launch of Crowd Justice – 17 December 2017

Raised: £7,470 in 6 days!! Thank you so much for all your help and support.


I received some really wonderful messages which kept me going – Thank You!!

Here are some of them. Sorry I can’t list all your tweets there were so many, I can’t thank you all enough

 Dec 16

speaks for so many . Pls help her raise funds to fight her case. How can our Health+Social care services protect those they serve if those who speak out about harm+ bad practice are persecuted and silenced

Most welcome. Only if we support our courageous whistleblowers can we expect a health service that is safe and fit for purpose.  Well done for getting such a significant endorsement today! We are all gunning for you.

Wishing you all the best Sharmila. You have been treated appallingly for telling the Truth. Hope you get Justice.

Good luck sharmila x a insperation to us all

Stay Strong! You’ve made the first target already, awesome progress.

8 yrs of your priceless life, 8 years…the doctors who stole time & money in good & trusting faith from cash starved NHS should be struck off for length of time its taken out of your life & stolen off a system that sets everyone at the same level no matter their riches  NHS

I just agreed to support @sharmillaxx I’m a bit of a and don’t give to charity, but this is supporting the defence of the

If there was truth & transparency from the very start then there would be no need for whistle blowers


Please continue to help and support this campaign and encourage donations where you are able.

Please share this campaign on facebook, twitter, emails and instagrams.

Thank you for your help.


Update on day 3 of launch of Crowd Justice – 14 December 2017

We raised: £7,120  in 72 hours!! An anonymous donor had pledged £5,000 which brought up  the total significantly. 

Thank you so much for all your help and support. 


Today’s message has been written by Fiona Bell:

Well we started Sharmila’s crowd justice campaign Tuesday morning , Sharmila in London, myself in Northumberland, the support , the time given , every donation, what can I say absolutely brilliant . Every single one of you have made a difference. 

My day starts , tweeting from under the duvet, catching up on emails, getting ready for work. Thursday was no different , I wake at 6 am checked the campaign total , we were doing amazingly well our total at 8 was almost £2000 thanks to everyone’s tweets,  retweets, donations. So as usual I  juggled two large Labradors, breakfast , tweeting getting ready for work & campaign work. 

9 am a  break from tweeting to catch the number 1 bus, then a quick change over to get the x8 that takes me to work. I then have time to catch up with Sharmila and we are discussing “how do we raise more funds”  I tell her “we will get there” then say “okie dokie best make use of the free bus wifi and get tweeting”  So out comes the iPad I’m logging onto the site to send my next batch of tweets and my eyes nearly pop out of my head the total has gone to over £7000 in minutes . 

What an amazing pleasure it was to then pick up my mobile call Sharmila and break the most fantastic news , ( Sharmila  thought I was joking)  now that’s how to start a day , to give some one the most incredible news , made possible by the support & donations of friends, our families & strangers #wow #thankyou #amazing-people Having picked ourselves up off the floor we have arrived at Day 4 of the campaign, have a great Friday folks.


Please continue to help and support this campaign.

On twitter please use  #Sharmila #followfriday #ff #share

If you’re on Facebook or any other networking site please share far & wide


Thank you for your help.


Update on day 2 of launch of Crowd Justice – 13 December 2017

Raised: £1,975 in 48 hours. Thank you so much for all your help and support.

I received some really wonderful messages which kept me going – Thank You!!


I will be going out today but I need you all to keep tweeting and sharing with friends in my absence.


Please continue to promote this campaign and encourage donations where you are able.

New ideas and contacts are also appreciated.


Please continue to help and support this campaign. Please use #sharmila in your tweets. It helps to see the supporters.

Thank you for your help.


Update on day 1 – Thank you Launch of Crowd Justice – 12 December 2017

Woke up early as couldn’t sleep both due to excitement and worry that I may forget to do something or contact someone important. Also had my usual throbbing headaches. Although waking up early is not a bad thing – I often get my most innovative ideas when I am half asleep and almost ready to get up!

I had my wonderful launch supporters on standby for launch at 8.00am. Fiona Bell, David Drew, Caroline Clarke, Alan Clarke and of course my mum on ‘red alert’. True to form It was launched at 8.00am precisely.

It was a very busy day for me on twitter @sharmilaxx. My crowd justice page was also shared in various Facebooks.

Raised: £1,650 in 24 hours. Please continue to promote this campaign and encourage donations where you are able. New ideas and contacts are also appreciated. Thank you + + +

Fiona Bell‏ @Unity_portal

NHS whistleblower needs your urgent help for justice & safety we are at £1625 thank you all so much, I know @sharmilaxx will be thrilled to wake up in the morning and see this xxxx

I received some really wonderful messages which kept me going – Thank You!!

Sorry I can’t list all your tweets there were so many, I can’t thank you all enough

David Drew‏ @NHSwhistleblowr 9h9 hours ago

£1540 for @sharmilaxx today. She will sleep better if we can push this up. All pledges void if she doesn’t reach her target. Night all.

Andrew Ward‏ @Public_Eye_XVA 23h23 hours ago

Sharmila, so sorry to read of your recent experience at #HCA I can’t imagine the sense of “betrayal” you must feel after all you’ve been through. I know you are a “leader not a quitter” who gives hope for those who wish to see justice prevail. I’ve pledged my support. Take care A

Tracy King‏Verified account @tkingdot Dec 11

I support Sharmila and all #whistleblowers and her comments here are correct. Policies without enforcement and REAL culture change are worthless.

Andrew Ward‏ @Public_Eye_XVA 23h23 hours ago

Sharmila’s a “leader not a quitter” so please take a few minutes to read of her latest struggle to get justice. Every whistleblower’s story is unique, needs to be heard and Sharmila like all deserves our support. Thank you.

Dr Chris Day‏ @drcmday 21h21 hours ago

Another NHS staff member that has been shown to be right about her whistleblowing still having her life destroyed. Just imagine if the authorities moved their attention from overworked junior doctors that make a mistake #BawaGarba to the real problem undermining NHS safety

Moosa Qureshi‏ @DrMQureshi 21h21 hours ago

#Whistleblowers might just help save the #NHS, and @sharmilaxx is one of the most prominent whistleblowers in the UK.

Ricki emmett‏ @Rickiemmett1 21h21 hours ago

Good luck Sharmila, I will spread the this, the best I can and make people aware of the scale of corruption that’s going on! And the impact it has on people like yourself and many others.

LaurenceVick‏ @LaurenceVick 21h21 hours ago

Please support NHS whistleblower Sharmila Chowdhury @sharmilaxx with her crowdfunding campaign for justice and safety

andi Whistleblowers‏ @CANDI_Reports 19h19 hours ago

Thank you for sharing your story. You’re a hero. It’s shocking how organisations close ranks to protect their own corrupt practices – but you did the right thing. We stand with you

Barry Faith‏ @BazzerFace 17h17 hours ago

I’m in! :>)

Steuart Hedington‏ @StuHedington 17h17 hours ago

I don’t have many followers but please, can someone just RT this?? This woman is awesome and needs help now!!

❤Littleglob ❤‏ @littleglob1 15h15 hours ago

Replying to @rubydragon1

well said. @sharmilaxx it’s about time criminals paid for their crimes not the whistleblowers who report them!

BigBob‏ @sadcafe69 15h15 hours ago

Yes, just had a look, keep plugging away, without WB, which i hate that word, there would B more corruption. We are people with integrity

Mick Geen‏ @J4BenGeen 15h15 hours ago

Please support this important appeal to help protect #whistleblowers. The Government should be making it their job to so but they are failing to deliver. We should be engaging #whistleblowers not destroying their careers and ruining their lives.

Susan‏ @rubydragon1 21h21 hours ago

If #legalaid was available people #whistleblowing things they could not turn a #blind eye to would be more common instead of being failed by a #system set up for money not right action #NHS & #Employers would act & #work better for everyone If you can help please do by sharing

TBK‏ @MarionWomen 13h13 hours ago

Please help and share for this Brave Brave NHS Whistleblower HSE Whistleblowers whether Patient, Doctor or administrator are criminally Silenced….

Sparkle60‏ @60Sparkle 11h11 hours ago

I’ll support this Sharmila. Keep up the good fight for justice, for all those whose lives have been destroyed because they’re honest, decent people.

Fiona Bell‏ @Unity_portal 11h11 hours ago

Please support @sharmilaxx with her @CrowdJustice campaign every donation helps

Caroline‏ @pinnaclephysio2 11h11 hours ago

Please retweet and pledge a donation if you can @sharmilaxx has been fighting for justice for 8 years.

Colette L Annesley‏ @ColetteAnnesley 10h10 hours ago

Makes me angry that #NHS funds have been misappropriated to wreck your career. Keeping you in my prayers Sharmila.

MGDoc‏ @morrisgabc

Here is a link to a funding page for a lovely and determined woman, Sharmilla Chowdhury, @sharmilaxx who blew the whistle on NHS fraud in her department yet still lost her job and much more.


Please continue to help with donations and support this campaign. Thank you x


NHS whistleblower needs your urgent help for justice & safety

Whistleblowers who raise concerns continue to be at risk of losing their jobs.

I am an NHS whistleblower who had reported fraud in NHS. I was subsequently dismissed on false counter allegations. I Won an interim relief hearing and appeal but was not allowed back to work. Instead I was made redundant.

Despite winning the hearing and an apology from the trust, I had problems getting jobs when employers discovered that I was a whistleblower. I had job offers withdrawn, interviews cancelled and positions withdrawn.

I subsequently developed breast and lung cancer for which I am on ongoing maintenance treatment.

My case has been widely covered in the media.

I have written numerous letters and have met with influential senior officials from both major parties, including Jeremy Hunt. Despite repeated promises for change, I have not received any redress, and have faced financial struggle for 8 years whilst undergoing treatment.

Struggling to find work, I accepted job at Princess Grace Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare, but I ended up with my direct line manager being connected to my previous whistleblowing on fraud.

During my work at Princess Grace I was victimised for attending my ongoing life-saving treatment for cancer. I was also put through sham performance management in an attempt to get rid of me, which was later dropped by HCA’s own legal team.

They then decided to make my post redundant. This is despite at other HCA sites there are imaging managers in post and the Imaging department at Princess Grace received highest patient rating compared to other HCA imaging sites.

Consultants in the department also raised their concerns to the CEO about getting rid of me but without success.

I have been clearly discriminated as a whistleblower and someone who has been undergoing cancer treatment.

I had also raised serious ongoing patient safety concerns internally at Princess Grace. CQC in their recent inspection of Princess Grace issued an improvement notice for safety and being well led. This can be viewed on CQC’s website. Imaging department however, was rated as being ‘good’.

I have now started a Crowd Justice campaign, launched 12 December 2017 to help me legally to fight injustice.

 Why I need help with legal costs

As I was in employment for 18 months, I am not entitled to any redundancy. My case will need to go to an employment tribunal for which I do not have funds. Without any income, I will lose my home with ongoing treatment for cancer. I need this money to fund my case.

My health has further deteriorated in the last couple of months due to stress.

What will raising funds enable me to achieve?

If successful, this will raise awareness and encourage other staff members to speak up and promote patient safety as whistleblowers will be seen to be protected. This is hugely important in promoting patient safety in all health organisations.

It will also discourage organisations to take on a defensive approach when faced with concerns and encourage them to act on the concerns raised.

I really hope you will help me as I need your support.

Please make a pledge and share the crowd justice link widely.

Currently raising concerns is actively being discouraged due to constant victimisation of whistleblowers. This sets an example to other staff who see their colleagues being persecuted and end up losing their jobs, careers, home, health and marriage. In some cases there has been suicides.

Concerns raised do not get addressed and frequently covered up and so patients continue to be placed at risk.

Think about what you would want if you or a close family member who is a patient in one of our care providers.

Victimisation of whistleblowers simply has to stop if we want to see a safer care.

Please pledge and share widely using below link  on twitter, facebook, e-mails and instagrams. Thank you.


‘Appalling’ treatment of NHS whistleblowers must be investigated: Staff ostracised by hospital bosses demand independent inquiry after ‘whitewash’ Francis Report


  • Freedom To Speak Up Review published report revealing culture of fear
  • Sir Robert Francis sought evidence from hundreds of doctors and nurses
  • Concluded whistleblowers ‘bullied and ostracised’ for speaking up
  • Scathing letter from three high profile whistleblowers calls for inquiry
  • Say their careers have been ruined and still no action has been taken 

NHS whistleblowers are demanding an independent inquiry into their treatment by hospital managers after a long-awaited report was declared a ‘whitewash’.

In a scathing letter to the report’s author, they accused him of failing to hold any managers to account and leaving patients at risk of serious harm.

The NHS’s ‘Freedom to Speak up Review’, which was published a fortnight ago, told how whistleblowers have faced a culture of ‘fear, bullying and ostracisation’ for daring to speak out.

But whistleblowers whose careers have been ruined said still no action has been taken to address the concerns about patient safety that they have been making for years.

Despite hearing awful reports about failures and cover ups over patients’ deaths, the report’s author Sir Robert Francis has ‘ignored’ their stories, they said.

Scroll down to read the letter in full  

NHS whistleblower Dr David Drew

NHS whistleblowers Sharmila Chowdhury

NHS whistleblowers Dr David Drew (left) and Sharmila Chowdhury (right) have written to Sir Robert Francis demanding an independent inquiry into their treatment by hospital bosses, after they spoke out to raise concerns over patient safety

‘We expected that you would have taken action in these matters which involved patient harm, death and fraud,’ the whistleblowers have written to Sir Robert.

‘Those responsible have not been held accountable. Lessons have not been learned. Patients and their relatives have not been told the truth.

‘We consider this failure to address our concerns a serious flaw in your review.’

The letter, which has been signed by three NHS whistleblowers, added: ‘We feel that we have not been taken seriously, which has been our experience as whistleblowers all along.

‘It seems appropriate to us that you allow independent scrutiny of all the submissions so that these matters can be addressed.’

Sir Robert was commissioned last June by the Government to head the review into whistleblowing in the NHS.

He previously led two inquiries into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire hospital, where 1,200 patients died needlessly.

Some 600 NHS staff spoke to the barrister and his team, who were also overwhelmed by 19,800 responses from other employees to an online survey.

Sir Robert reported that whistleblowers are too often derided as ‘snitches, troublemakers and backstabbers’.

He said many had, in effect, been blacklisted by the NHS, facing being ‘victimised’ by managers, forced out of their jobs and unable to find other work.

The barrister made 20 recommendations – including a ‘whistleblowing guardian’ at each hospital – which the Government has promised to enforce in an attempt to change the culture of silence in the health service.

Robert Francis QC, pictured, sought evidence from hundreds of doctors, nurses and other employees as part of the Freedom To Speak Up review into the treatment of whistleblowers in the NHS

NHS whistleblowers, however, have since confronted him, outlining their ‘serious concerns’ that his report has failed to address any of the specific concerns made by NHS staff about the alarming treatment of patients.

The letter has been signed by three high profile whistleblowers, including Dr David Drew, a top paediatrician who was sacked after claiming he had witnessed a cover up over a child’s death.

It has also been signed by Sharmila Chowdhury, a senior radiography manager who spoke out about a £250,000 fraud at her Trust, and a third colleague who asked not to be named.

Dated February 23, 2015, the letter states: ‘We have now had an opportunity to digest your report and have a number of serious concerns.

‘More than 600 individuals made detailed submissions to the quantitative review.

‘We suppose that many, like us, assumed that you would take these seriously as disclosures made in the public interest and act on them. That is what you told us when we first met you.


The Freedom To Speak Up review set out 20 principles to bring about change in the NHS.

They include:

Culture of raising concerns – to make raising issues a part of normal routine business of any well-led NHS organisation. Sir Robert suggests that every NHS trust should have an integrated policy and common procedure for all employees to formally report incidents and raise their concerns.

Culture free from bullying – freedom of staff to speak out relies on staff being able to work in a culture which is free from bullying. The report urges all trusts to consistently show intimidation and victimisation to be unacceptable behaviour.

Training – every member of staff should receive training in their trust’s approach to raising concerns and in receiving and acting on them.

Support – all NHS trusts should ensure there is a dedicated person to whom concerns can be easily reported and without formality. They should also provide staff who raise concners with ready access to mentoring, advocacy, advice and counselling. The report suggests each hospital appoint a freedom to speak up guardian to fulfill that role.

Support to find alternative employment in the NHS – where a worker who has raised a concern cannot, as a result, continue their role, the NHS should help them seek an alternative job.

‘You have allowed situations where patients are at risk and where managers act defensively out of self-interest to continue unaddressed.

‘Amongst the other 600 plus submissions there must be, and we know there are, more examples of fraud and unresolved patient risk.’

They went on to demand that the submissions are now properly dealt with under ‘independent scrutiny’.

After the report was published, there was particular unease about a key clause which advised whistleblowers not to speak to the press, saying they should only do so as a ‘last resort’ to avoid causing ‘considerable distress’.

Dr Drew told the Mail he was publicising the whistleblowers’ letter to Sir Robert because ‘the press seems to be the only way to squeeze the truth out’.

He added: ‘History will judge Francis badly. He failed whistleblowers and offered a get out of jail free for managers. And that adds up to failing patients. The whole point was patient safety but he ignored all our reports.’

In his review, Sir Robert said: ‘What I heard during the course of the review from staff, employers, regulators and unions and others leaves me in no doubt that there’s a serious problem in the NHS.

‘Too often, honestly-expressed anxieties have met with hostility and breakdown of working relationships. Worse still, some people suffer life-changing events, they lose their jobs, their careers and even their health.

‘We heard all too frequently of jobs being lost, but also of serious psychological damage, even to the extent of suicidal depression.

‘In short, lives can be ruined by poor handling of staff who have raised concerns.’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Commons: ‘The only way we will build an NHS with the highest standards is if the doctors and nurses who have given their lives to patient care always feel listened to when they speak out about patient care.

‘The message must go out that we are calling time on bullying, intimidation and victimisation, which have no place in our NHS.

‘We will ensure that every member of staff, NHS manager and NHS leader has proper training on how to raise concerns and how to treat people who raise concerns.’

Last night, Sir Robert Francis said: ‘I was asked by the Secretary of State to review the way concerns are handled and how those who raised them are treated.

‘I was not asked to investigate or pass judgement on the concerns themselves and made it very clear to all concerned that I was not going to do so.

‘It would be inappropriate to comment on individual contributions, as these were shared with me in confidence.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt  told the House of Commons he accepts the 20 principles laid out in Sir Robert's review. He said legalisation to protect whistleblowers will be fast-tracked

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told the House of Commons he accepts the 20 principles laid out in Sir Robert’s review. He said legalisation to protect whistleblowers will be fast-tracked

A Department of Health spokesman added: ‘Since Mid Staffs, there have been significant changes to make the NHS the safest and most transparent healthcare system in the world.

‘We are confident Sir Robert Francis’ recommendations will help create a more open and honest culture, and we want to change the law in this Parliament so staff feel more able to raise concerns — creating Freedom To Speak Up Guardians will also support them to do so.’

Responding the Dr Drew’s comments, a spokesman for the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said the issues Dr Drew raises have been addressed through two formal legal processes, ongoing since 2009.

He said: ‘In 2012 the case went to an Employment Tribunal and we are satisfied with the outcome of the case and that of the recent Employment Appeals Tribunal that dismissed Dr Drew’s claims.

‘We would like to reiterate that this case did not question Dr Drew’s skills as a paediatric consultant and on behalf of the Trust would like to say that we regret that the situation had to get to the Tribunal stage.

‘As a Trust we actively encourage and support our staff to raise an issue if they are concerned about patient care.’

Meanwhile, responding to Ms Chowdhury’s concerns, a spokesman for London North West Healthcare NHS Trust – which now includes Ealing Trust – said: ‘The Trust commissioned an independent report which was undertaken by Parkhill counter fraud services.

‘They found no evidence of wrong doing on the part of the two consultants named in the allegations.’


Dear Sir Robert

Concerns about the Freedom to Speak up Review.

We are two of the whistleblowers who contributed to your Freedom to Speak up Review. We have now had an opportunity to digest your report and have a number of serious concerns. We deal with one of them in this letter.

More than 600 individuals made detailed submissions to the quantitative review. Most of these, as your report concedes, experienced victimisation after reporting concerns. In some cases you described this as ‘truly shocking’.

The concern we wish to raise with you here is about the disclosures made to you by these individuals. We suppose that many, like us, assumed that you would take these seriously as disclosures made in the public interest and act on them. That is consistent with the review procedure and what you told us when we first met you. Your report, however, makes no mention of the disclosures any of us made or what action you have taken.

Sharmila Chowdhury a senior radiography manager at Ealing NHS reported fraudulent claims by two senior consultants in excess of £250,000. She and two other whistleblowers have written to Sir Robert Francis raising concerns over his recent review of how the NHS treats staff who dare to speak out

Sharmila Chowdhury a senior radiography manager at Ealing NHS reported fraudulent claims by two senior consultants in excess of £250,000. She and two other whistleblowers have written to Sir Robert Francis raising concerns over his recent review of how the NHS treats staff who dare to speak out

Here are thumb-nails of the disclosures we personally made. These are serious and unresolved.

Dr David Drew: The cover-up of a hospital’s and a hospital consultant’s catastrophic failure that led to the non-accidental death of a 16-month-old boy. The hospital’s refusal despite comprehensive evidence to accept or investigate allegations of this cover-up. The failure of a Royal College of Paediatrics review panel to take evidence of this seriously and investigate.

Ms Sharmila Chowdhury: I was senior radiography manager at Ealing NHS when I reported fraudulent claims in excess of £250,000. This involved moonlighting whilst being paid by the trust, double claiming and claiming for overtimes not undertaken. I was dismissed following a false counter-allegation. I won my case at the interim relief tribunal. The large sums the trust was defrauded of have never been returned and the perpetrators and senior managers who covered this up have not been made accountable. I reasonably believe that this fraud may be continuing. 

Even these examples show that you have allowed situations where patients are at risk and where managers act defensively out of self-interest to continue unaddressed. Amongst the other 600 plus submissions there must be, and we know there are, more examples of fraud and unresolved patient risk.

Even if you considered, as you suggest in the conclusion of your report, that re-opening our cases would be too troublesome we expected that you would have taken action in these matters which involved patient harm, death and fraud. Those responsible have not been held accountable. Lessons have not been learned. Patients and their relatives have not been told the truth. We consider this failure to address our concerns a serious flaw in your review. We feel that we have not been taken seriously which has been our experience as whistle-blowers all along. It seems appropriate to us that you allow independent scrutiny of all the submissions so that these matters can be addressed.

We look forward to a speedy and comprehensive response.

Yours sincerely

Dr David Drew 

Sharmila Chowdhury

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2971737/Appalling-treatment-NHS-whistleblowers-investigated-Staff-ostracised-hospital-bosses-demand-independent-inquiry-whitewash-Francis-Report.html#ixzz50zUF1ezB
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Whistleblower forces hospital A&E waiting times review 

STV News  17 November 2017

Hospital: A whistleblower contact Ms Robison in October
Hospital: A whistleblower contact Ms Robison in October CC / Anne Burgess 

The Health Secretary has ordered an independent review after a whistleblower claimed long A&E waiting times at a hospital were being under-reported.

Shona Robison told NHS Lothian to carry out a full investigation after she was contacted about St John’s Hospital in Livingston last month.

The whistleblower suggested staff in the emergency department felt pressured to achieve the four-hour access standard and the number of patients waiting longer than four hours had been understated in performance reports.

Early findings from the internal review showed staff at St John’s have been applying locally-produced guidelines on how to record patients who breach the four-hour access standard which do not comply with national guidance.

It meant some patients who may have been recorded as breaching the waiting-time performance target were not included in departmental performance reports.

These are serious allegations and the early findings are clearly a cause for concern.’

Shona Robison

After the interim findings confirmed areas of concern, Ms Robison asked the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, chaired by Professor Derek Bell, to undertake an external review to investigate the full circumstances.

She said: “These are serious allegations and the early findings are clearly a cause for concern.

“That is why I have asked Professor Bell to lead an independent review of these allegations.

“We are working very closely with the board to ensure that lessons are learned from the investigation and recommendations made are fully implemented as soon as possible and shared across NHS Scotland.”

The review will report back to Ms Robison early in the new year.

The initial draft report noted no evidence of bullying or harassment was found during interviews with staff and that busy staff had produced their own reference guides for inputting information into the data recording system.

But the report stressed the guidance sheets were only “created with the best intentions of clarifying arrangements”.

Jim Crombie, deputy chief executive of NHS Lothian, said: “NHS Lothian is committed to the values of openness and transparency, and we have placed them at the heart of our organisation.

“We actively encourage our staff in NHS Lothian to highlight issues relating to patient safety and we take any allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing very seriously.

“We have a robust whistleblowing policy in place to ensure that all our staff are supported and feel able to raise any concerns, and I am encouraged that staff are able to discuss them.”

Mr Crombie said an internal audit team, headed by a senior non-executive director, was appointed as soon as the concerns were raised.

He added: “We will co-operate with and support the work being carried out by the external review team.”

Scottish Labour’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “These are deeply troubling findings that will concern patients across NHS Lothian and beyond.

“It is absolutely right that they are independently investigated.”

‘Despicable’ fraud costs NHS in England £1bn a year

BBC News    1 November 2017

NHS wardImage copyright  GETTY IMAGES

More will be done to protect the NHS in England from “despicable” acts of fraud, the head of the health service’s new anti-fraud body has said.

Sue Frith promised a crackdown as she released figures suggesting the yearly bill for fraud in the NHS topped £1bn.

Cases include patients falsely claiming for exemptions on dental and prescription fees, and dentists charging for work they had not done.

Ms Frith said the fraud takes vital funds from front line care.

Ms Frith, the chief executive of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said it would be looking at new ways to fight the crime.

The analysis by her team estimated that £1.25bn of fraud is being committed each year by patients, staff and contractors – the first time the health service has put a figure on total fraud committed itself.

The sum represents about 1% of the NHS budget

Presentational grey line

The most common frauds

The two biggest single areas of fraud were related to patients and procurement of good and services, both of which was likely to cost the NHS in excess of £200m a year each, according to Ms Frith.

She said patient fraud included cases where people wrongly claimed for exemptions for the cost of things like prescriptions and dental fees.

Meanwhile, payroll fraud was thought to be costing £90m a year, while dentists were said to be claiming around £70m in work on NHS patients that has not been done.

Dental fillingImage copyright  DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY


Ms Frith said: “People may think it is just a small amount, but in large volumes it adds up and has an impact. It is criminal behaviour.

“It is despicable people would even claim things they are not entitled to. This is money that should be spent on front line patient care.”

She acknowledged the NHS must do better at detecting and preventing fraud.

Last year investigators successfully pursued cases worth £9.6m, although another £30m of cases are pending.

But this is only a small fraction of what she suspects is out there.

Ms Frith said the £1.25bn was probably on the conservative side – previous estimates by experts have put it even higher.

She believes the new organisation, which is officially formed on Wednesday, will be able to improve on this detection rate.

It has been given independent status and allowed to focus solely on fraud.

Its predecessor organisation, NHS Protect, also covered security.

Responsibility for security has now been devolved down to local NHS trusts and the budget for tackling fraud increased by over 10%.

This will also mean more field officers to be appointed to gather evidence, as well as a greater effort on fraud prevention by reviewing contracts and systems put in place to safeguard against fraud, she said.

Badly-behaved surgeons are ​putting patients’ lives in danger ​due to ‘culture of bullying’, report finds

The Telegraph  Science  

The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (RSCE), which represents members across the UK, said a “visceral” atmosphere of fear among younger surgeons is leading to failures in concentration that directly harms patients

The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (RSCE), which represents members across the UK, said a “visceral” atmosphere of fear among younger surgeons is leading to failures in concentration that directly harms patients.

In a new report, the college also warns the profession’s “macho” attitude makes it difficult to challenge bad practice, a culture which enabled disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson to mutilate victims unchecked for two decades.

It follows research published in June which found that one in six trainee surgeons are suffering from battlefield-type Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Senior doctors have warned that the bullying culture among surgeons is negatively affecting recruitment, making entry into the discipline less competitive.

RSCE is calling for bullies to be removed from their posts and has set up a task force to send into affected hospitals.

The sentencing of surgeon Ian Paterson has once again raised the issue of bullying and undermining in healthcareProfessor Michael Lavelle-Jones

Dr Alice Hartley, a Newcastle-based registrar who co-chairs the college’s trainee committee, said a senior colleague had flung instruments at her during an operation after she asked a question, a situation she described as “not uncommon”.

In another incident, a surgeon slapped her hand as she was preparing to make an incision.

She said fear of older colleagues was forcing junior surgeons to cut corners, such as avoiding asking for advice in complicated cases.

“It’s getting more and more of an issue,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

“If you’ve been shouted at first thing in the morning you carry that with you for the rest of the day. You won’t be concentrating on your job.”

Last year’s NHS staff survey found that, across all disciplines, one in five doctors had suffered bullying.

However, previous research indicates that surgical trainees are three times more likely to suffer abuse and that as many as 27 per cent of patient deaths during or shortly after surgery can be attributed in part to “disruptive behaviour”.

Victims who gave evidence to the RSCE said they had surgical leaders had spread false rumours and publicly humiliated them after they asked awkward questions.

Earlier this year West Midlands surgeon Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years after being convicted of deliberately performing unnecessary and incompetent operations on 10 patients, although the true number of his victims is estimated to be several hundred.

Campaigners for the victims have called for the system, which allowed his butchery to go unchallenged in both the NHS and private sector, to be overhauled.

Last night RSCE leaders directly linked the current bullying culture with the risk of another rogue surgeon.

Earlier this year West Midlands surgeon Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years after being convicted of deliberately performing unnecessary and incompetent operations on 10 patients
Earlier this year West Midlands surgeon Ian Paterson (pictured) was jailed for 20 years after being convicted of deliberately performing unnecessary and incompetent operations on 10 patients CREDIT:JOE GIDDENS/PA WIRE

Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones, President of RCSE, said: “The sentencing of surgeon Ian Paterson has once again raised the issue of bullying and undermining in healthcare, and highlighted the terrible consequences that this behaviour can have for patients.

“We want to change the culture of healthcare to ensure that this kind of behaviour becomes so unacceptable it can no longer go on.

“As professionals, we have a duty to protect our patients from damaging and unnecessary treatments, and, as professionals, we have a right to be protected from being bullied and undermined.”

The college wants the General Medical Council, which regulates doctors, to introduce compulsory training on bullying in Foundation Year training.

Chris Massey, GMC Chief Executive, said bullying and undermining behaviour should “never be tolerated”, but said the organisation’s standards already made it clear that medical training environments should encourage trainees to raise concerns about patient safety.

“We welcome the college’s efforts to build on those standards and tackle bullying and we are keen to support those delivering training to raise awareness of the issue,” he said.

NHS chiefs spend £100,000 on failed bid to stop whistleblowing doctor having his day in court

Mirror  14 October 2017 

Dr Chris Day, 32, says his career was “destroyed” after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit. Now the huge cost to the taxpayer has been revealed

NHS whistleblower Dr Chris Day has faced a lengthy legal battle

The Tories have secretly blown £3million worth of taxpayers’ cash on consultants in a failed bid to privatise the NHS staffing agency.

Ministers desperately tried to sell off the respected NHS Professionals organisation which supplies doctors and nurses to hospitals.

But they were forced to perform a major U-turn following widespread anger and criticism from MPs, medical chiefs and health unions.

Now we can reveal that the Government spent £2.8million on “external advisers” to work on the planned sale before it was abandoned.

Britain’s most senior doctor branded the “wasted” money “utterly shameful”.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association, warned the Government’s use of management consultants meant money was haemorrhaging out of the health service where it was desperately needed.

Dr Day raised concerns about alleged understaffing at a London hospital (Image: Getty)

He said: “It is utterly shameful to see politicians and health leaders have wasted yet more millions at a time when patient care is being compromised by frontline services being pushed to breaking point by a lack of resource and rocketing demand.

“The Government must focus on supporting and resourcing health services which need immediate attention rather than squandering money on misguided short-term commercial policies, and take decisive action to support doctors who are stretched to the limit across the country.”

The identities of the consultancy firms hired by the Tories have not been revealed.

Dr Eric Watts, a consultant haematologist and spokesman for campaign group Doctors for the NHS, added: “This shows the complete folly of trying to impose the ideals of a marketplace where absolutely no market belongs: the NHS.

“It does not need privatising and it certainly does not need public money throwing away to fail to prove it might. It needs funding properly. Not giving away.”

In a written statement to parliament, Health Minister Philip Dunne confirmed: “The Department spent approximately £2.8million on external advisers’ costs during the sale process for NHS Professionals until the decision was announced on 7 September that NHS Professionals will remain wholly in public ownership.

“The Government concluded that none of the offers received for NHS Professionals reflected the company’s growing potential and improved performance.”

Justin Madders
Labour’s Justin Madders said the amount of money spent was “astonishing”

The Department of Health said it abandoned the sale of the agency which supplies 90,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, after failing to receive any adequate bids.

The proposal had been strongly criticised because the use of NHS Professionals saves the NHS £70million a year by supplying staff more cheaply than private sector agencies.

Mr Dunne admitted the £2.8million bill will be paid for by taking a divided payment from NHS Professionals, but insisted “this will not impact on delivering frontline NHS services”.

However, Justin Madders MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said: “The Tories have starved our NHS of funds, while wasting millions of pounds on trying to force through the privatisation of services in the face of common sense.

NHS staff lay bare a bullying culture

The Guardian       

26 October 2016

A shocking four-fifths of respondents to a Guardian survey reveal they have been bullied, and a third have lost jobs as result

One in 10 bullying victims was subject to violent behaviour and aggression. One in 10 bullying victims was subject to violent behaviour and aggression. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Bullying is a pernicious problem in the NHS. That’s the stark finding from exclusive research by the Guardian. The online survey of more than 1,500 doctors, nurses and other health workers in hospitals, primary care and community settings, found that 81% had experienced bullying and for almost half of them (44%), it is still ongoing. Close to nine out of 10 bullying victims who responded have been left with their cases unresolved.

Although the survey on bullying was self-selecting, the findings underline the results of the official annual NHS staff survey. The 2015 survey of nearly 300,000 healthcare professionals across England found that a quarter of staff in NHS trusts had experienced bullying, harassment or abuse in the previous 12 months.

Some 87% of respondents to the Guardian survey, carried out between August and September, think bullying is a big problem within the NHS, while almost three-quarters said they felt the health service did not take bullying seriously. “The culture is driven by exerting undue pressure on others to get things done. If you don’t, you are targeted and eventually you end up with stress and depression,” one NHS manager said.

“The organisation becomes defensive and takes the corporate line to protect themselves from a legal challenge and puts it down to your perception. You are then managed out of your job through contrived actions designed to make you leave. All this leaves you broken and with no strength to fight. You go if you can find another job. Otherwise you suffer in silence.”

The devastating impact of bullying is all too apparent. A third of victims said they had been pushed out of their jobs, with many developing serious mental health problems as a result, while almost three-quarters reported increased stress and panic attacks. As a result, some 41% said they needed counselling or treatment after being bullied. The survey also shows the adverse impact of bullying on the NHS, with those respondents who have been bullied taking on average 108 days off work and almost a third (31%) saying they were signed-off sick. A further third said they had contemplated leaving their job.

Sue Covill, director of development and employment at NHS Employers, (the employers’ organisation for the NHS in England) admits the results are worrying. “Bullying is completely unacceptable and the ongoing work to tackle it is vital for all NHS organisations, leaders and staff,” she says. “To improve the working lives of our staff and deliver the best possible care to patients, we need to create supportive, positive, open and collegiate cultures in our organisations across the health system.”

According to the 1,355 anonymous survey respondents who said they had experienced or witnessed NHS bullying, the most common forms of abuse are undermining behaviour and persistent criticism. Just over a third said they were persecuted through fear or threats, saying their career was deliberately sabotaged. One in 10 bullying victims was subjected to violent behaviour and aggression.

Asked if a particular incident triggered the bullying, 55% said raising a concern prompted the abuse. Fear of reprisals means that only 54% reported the bullying. For the 43% who chose not to report it, two-thirds felt scared that to do so would make things worse. Of those who did report their bullying, 44% said it persisted afterwards, sometimes for as long as a year.

“My experience left me feeling as though I had been manipulated, that I was a liar and had made it all up,” said one NHS administrator. “I had a meeting with my bully and came away from it feeling worse than before. I’m now left feeling desperately unhappy in a job I now despise.”

Only 17% of those who reported bullying said they received pastoral support from their organisation – and less than a quarter of these were satisfied with the result.

YouGov survey commissioned last year by the TUC showed that nearly a third of people had been bullied at work.

Concerns have been raised by health professionals and academics that the hierarchial structure of the NHS facilitates a culture where bullying can flourish.

“Medicine is a hard taskmaster but made worse by those around you who see you as a threat that rocks the hierarchy where everyone should know their place,” an anonymous hospital consultant says in response to the results of the Guardian survey. He warns: “It may well impact on patient care if those who perpetuate the abuse look for an opportunity to trip you up and blow any minor omission out of all proportion.”

Dr Anthea Mowat, chair of the British Medical Association’s representative body, says the survey results should act as an urgent wake-up call to employers. “If more staff are to speak out, they must be able to raise concerns without fear of being harassed or victimised, and there need to be clear and supportive systems of reporting in place,” she says. “We need to put an end to the climate of fear that has built up in the NHS over a number of years, with those in senior positions in the NHS leading by example to make this a reality.”

The survey, by the Guardian’s Healthcare Professionals Network, was sent out to network members via an email newsletter. It was also promoted via Twitter and Facebook. Network readers were also invited to take part through the website.

Nurse who left the NHS: the loss of my role was like a bereavement

I was an experienced nurse working in a fantastic team of staff. Following a reshuffle, our ward manager was replaced by someone who was known for being a bully. She frequently made comments and used language inappropriate for the role. Her victimisation of me began immediately. On one occasion, due to staff sickness I was expected to do the jobs of four other people and was reprimanded when I objected. I was expected to attend meetings on my days off. I was constantly ridiculed and told that medical staff had criticised me even though, when questioned, they quite clearly had not. On one occasion I was physically pushed out of the way. This went on for over a year and, along with the treatment of me that followed, had a devastating effect on my psychological health. I was having panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.

I took out a grievance and was immediately moved to an area where I had no previous experience or expertise. Unable to continue working I was signed off sick with work-related stress. My bullying complaint was not investigated properly and not upheld. I believed that I had been targeted as I had previously raised concerns about patient care. I appealed against the decision and with the support of a union representative and witnesses, I won. But the bully remained in post and I was offered a job in another area, at a lower grade. I was advised by my union that I was being constructively dismissed and not to return to work. I negotiated an exit strategy with payment of a tax-free lump sum under one of the now-outlawed compromise agreements. I am now in receipt of an NHS permanent injury benefit which guarantees me a tax-free income, in excess of what I was previously earning, for the rest of my natural life. I now work for a private company in a non-clinical setting. The loss of my clinical role has been like a bereavement and not a day goes by when I do not think about the injustice of my case.

NHS manager: the bullies have wrecked my career

There is an endemic culture of bullying at the hospital trust I work at. Colleagues have been suspended for raising concerns over unsafe patient care and allegations of abuse towards patients. One colleague had to leave her job after whistleblowing and is undergoing counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder. In my case, the bullying was incessant – my line manager would call me in the evening at home telling me to take time off work and encouraging me see my GP as, in her opinion, I was unwell – I wasn’t. She insisted that I had to contact her every morning to tell her where I was, even at work. Other senior people soon started to target me and I would be admonished for the smallest of errors and for things I hadn’t done. Because of the seniority of these people, other members of staff began to pull away, and I soon became isolated. By this time, I had gone to see my GP who had diagnosed me with severe depression. I have had suicidal thoughts – occasionally I still do. I’ve been demoted and moved into a job where I have no experience and I’ve been offered no training; I’m being set up to fail. I’m resigned to the fact that I will have to leave the trust at some point, as I can’t carry on. The bullies have wrecked my career in the NHS, and my confidence in my ability has evaporated. The whole experience has had a profound effect on me – cheerful confidence has been replaced by paranoia and distrust; I will never be the same person again. To this day I do not know what I did wrong – if anything.

Why I became a radiology whistleblower

HealthManagement, Volume 17 – Issue 4, 2017

28 September 2017
 Sharmila Chowdhury

Whistleblowers who raise concerns continue to be at risk of losing their jobs. Sharmila Chowdhury speaks the truth behind the life of a whistleblower and the severe consquences she continues to face after being dismissed by the NHS.

I had worked in the UK National Health Service (NHS ) since 1980 and qualified as a radiographer in 1983. I joined Ealing Hospital (London North West Healthcare NHS Trust) in February 2003 as Deputy Imaging Manager and was promoted to Imaging Manager in May 2008. I was in charge of 60 members of staff in the department, not including consultant radiologists. As the budget holder for the department I was responsible for signing off additional work and attendances of all staff, including the consultant radiologists. I raised concerns that very substantial sums of money were being paid to two consultants, who were also working over several years at a private hospital. The manager at the private hospital confirmed that they had attended that hospital since April 2006 for times whilst also being paid by the Trust. The concern escalated up the management chain—all agreed this was a problem. Additionally, consultants were claiming  for overtime not worked. The practice was not stopped and I was dismissed after false counter allegations were made. I was escorted out of the building in front of my staff.


While I won at the interim relief hearing and disciplinary appeal, the Trust refused to let me return as they advised my post was now ‘redundant’ due to technology. Although the Trust apologised, I have been unable to find work. One job offer was withdrawn when they discovered I was a whistleblower. I have had interviews cancelled and posts withdrawn. In one instance, the Care Quality Commission intervened, but without success. I am now being treated for cancer, that consultants believe may be linked to the stress of my treatment, and I have faced the ongoing threat of losing my home without income.


No action has been taken against those responsible for cheating the NHS out of large sums of money nor against those who colluded to victimise me. I have an excellent paper trail to support my claims. I contacted many organisations and politicians about my case. No one bothered to either investigate publicly my raised concerns, despite extensive evidence, nor my treatment as a whistleblower. The Department of Health (DH ), the Prime Minister’s Office and NHS London advised they couldn’t get involved. However, from a subsequent freedom of information request, it transpired that DH were communicating fully with the Trust about my case and settlement. They viewed my payoff as ‘good value for money.’


On 30 May 2014, I wrote an open letter to Jeremy Hunt, t he Secretary of State for Health, asking for help. He met me and a few other whistleblowers along with Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England. Hunt commissioned a review into NHS whistleblowing led by Sir Robert Francis, QC. The published report, Freedom to Speak Up (Francis 2015) has raised awareness. However, this has produced ineffective change for whistleblowers. I wrote an open letter to Hunt, printed in the Health Service Journal in 2016 (Chowdhury 2016), which was the highest-read article in the HS J for 2016. Hunt responded, but the response was unhelpful.


Campaigning for whistleblowers


I have continued to campaign for help not just for myself but for other whistleblowers, as my website (sharmilachowdury.com) demonstrates. Despite being featured in the media extensively no permanent solution has been found. I am currently working/ helping with NHS Improvement to look into helping NHS whistleblowers back to work, supported by the Department of Health, which unfortunately still has a long way to go to remedy the current situation faced by whistleblowers.


There has been no independent inquiry into either my raised concerns or my treatment as a whistleblower. None of the managers at the Trust have been held to account for my treatment, nor have the concerns raised by me been investigated, despite £5.7bn a year being lost to fraud in the NHS as reported in my BB C interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgxOvsqo3E4). The reported consultants continue to be employed by the trust. Fraud in the NHS still continues to be ignored. My case is proof that perpetrators of fraud continue to be supported by senior officers turning a blind eye.


I am currently working in the private sector, without any long-term security. I consider myself lucky in comparison to other whistleblowers. However, as my NHS pension has been ruined and I have been unable to pay off my mortgage I will have to continue to work until I die. There will be no retirement for me.



Chowdhury S (2016) An open letter to Jeremy Hunt from a whistleblower. Health Service Journal, 4 January. [Accessed: 22 August 2017] Available from hsj.co.uk/patient-safety/an-open-letter-to-jeremy-hunt-from-a-whistleblower/7001361.article


Francis R (2015) Freedom to speak up: an independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culturein the NHS. London: Freedom to Speak Up. [Accessed: 22 August 2017] Available from freedomtospeakup.org. uk/the-report


The social services boss fired after ‘blowing the whistle on grooming’: Chief seeks £1.4m settlement after being sacked when she raised concerns with her seniors

Mail on Line 25 September 2017  

Tom Payne and Simon Trump for the Daily Mail

  • Maggie Siviter, 56, told a tribunal that boys and girls were plied with drugs
  • The former safeguarding head says she was sacked after raising her concerns
  • She claimed North Somerset Council and police failed to act on evidence
  • It included allegations that child sexual exploitation had happened in buildings linked to three local businessmen who were friends with a local Tory councillor
Maggie Siviter, 56, pictured, former head of safeguarding for North Somerset council, told a tribunal that boys and girls were plied with drugs at seedy premises in Weston-super-Mare

Maggie Siviter, 56, pictured, former head of safeguarding for North Somerset council, told a tribunal that boys and girls were plied with drugs at seedy premises in Weston-super-Mare

A social services chief has claimed that she was sacked after ‘blowing the whistle’ on an alleged child sex grooming gang.

Maggie Siviter, 56, former head of safeguarding for North Somerset council, told a tribunal that boys and girls were plied with drugs at seedy premises in Weston-super-Mare.

Mrs Siviter said she was sacked from her £120,000-a-year job in November 2015 after raising her concerns with her seniors in protected disclosures under whistleblowing laws.

She is claiming breach of contract, arguing that, as a whistleblower, she had legal protection from dismissal. The hearing, which is expected to last at least two weeks, was told she will be seeking a £1.4million settlement if she wins her case.

She claimed the council and police failed to act on evidence of child sexual exploitation in buildings linked to three local businessmen who were friends with a Tory councillor.

They included a massage parlour, nightclub, bottle shop and restaurant owned or run by Alkas Hussain, Kiem Binh Mu and his brother Cam.

The three are said to have had personal and professional links with Peter Bryant, 75, a long-serving Tory councillor who lost an appeal to have his name excluded from the tribunal.

Fears about child sexual exploitation were first raised during an investigation into two houses selling counterfeit tobacco, the hearing was told.

Julian Feltwell, a trading standards officer involved in the investigation, said undercover footage of the properties, run by Cam, showed girls being lured inside. Allegations of abuse later emerged when two of the girls reported those involved.

Mr Feltwell, who was suspended soon after Mrs Siviter was dismissed, said the then safeguarding head and her team were able to link the suspected gang to other premises owned by the three men.

These included Butterflies massage parlour, Dragon’s Kiss nightclub, a restaurant and a bottle shop. Connections were then drawn to Mr Bryant’s links to the men.

Mr Feltwell told the tribunal in Pontypridd, South Wales, that Mr Bryant had asked safeguarding staff about the three men’s involvement in social services investigations, adding: ‘He used establishments which were used by these individuals and was on first-name terms. Where does patronage become protection?’

The three are said to have had personal and professional links with Peter Bryant, 75, (pictured) a long-serving Tory councillor who lost an appeal to have his name excluded from the tribunal

Mr Feltwell also detailed Mr Bryant’s close links to Cam Binh Mu, who was jailed for 16 weeks in February last year for producing counterfeit tobacco.

In 2010, Cam was imprisoned for a year for brandishing a shotgun at a council bailiff. In his trial, Mr Bryant produced a glowing reference for him.

Mr Feltwell said: ‘At no point did I say Councillor Bryant was involved in child sexual exploitation, but I had conversations with individuals about his being at the centre of concerns about exploitation and safeguarding.’

In a written statement for the tribunal, Tony Oliver, independent chairman of the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Board, described Mrs Siviter’s meetings about exploitation as ‘shambolic’ and based on ‘rumours and speculation’.

Avon and Somerset Police said there is no investigation into the three men but confirmed the force is aware of the allegations.

Officers were involved in meetings with Mrs Siviter about the child exploitation claims before her dismissal.

A spokesman said the force would not comment while the tribunal is being conducted.

GPs could be investigated by new patient safety whistleblowing watchdog

Pulse   14 September 2017 By 

whistle - online

A new patient safety watchdog has been given powers to investigate serious incidents or risks to patients in GP practices and NHS trusts under a draft bill laid before Parliament today.

The Health Service Safety Investigations Bill establishes statutory powers of the Health Service Safety Investigations Body, principally investigating ‘safe spaces’

This will mean information from NHS whistleblowers, patients, or their families shared with an accredited body or as part of an investigation will not routinely be made public.

In most cases a High Court order would be needed to make information given to the Health Service Safety Investigations Body public

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said this was a ‘landmark’ for safety in the NHS and said he hopes that this will encourage staff to raise concerns without fear of recrimination.

Modelled on the ‘no blame’ system in air safety investigations the HSSIB will be independent of the NHS and have powers to investigate NHS bodies and contracted providers.

The Department of Health confirmed to Pulse that GP practices would be within the scope of its investigations, but it was not focused on any one part of the health service.

After each investigation is completed, the HSSIB will publish detailed reports which will:

  • make recommendations for system-wide learning across the NHS;
  • help develop national standards on investigations;
  • provide advice, guidance and training to improve investigative practice across the health service.

Mr Hunt said: ‘When significant errors occur, it is vital that health organisations react quickly and decisively to share lessons and make improvements.

‘To achieve this we need to create an environment where patients, public and healthcare professionals all feel able to speak out about their concerns, without fear or favour.’



Heart surgeon who became an Uber driver after being fired from £95,000 a year job for ‘bullying’ agrees six-figure settlement after unfair dismissal claim

  • Consultant cardiac surgeon Peter O’Keefe ws accused of bullying colleagues 
  • He was fired from his £95,000-a-year job at the University Hospital of Wales
  • A settlement was reached on the day an Employment Tribunal was due to start
  • Dr O’Keefe claimed he was being punished for being an NHS whistleblower 

A heart surgeon has won a six-figure payout from the health board that sacked him after claiming he was unfairly dismissed for being an NHS whistleblower.

Consultant cardiac surgeon Peter O’Keefe, 52, who went on to become an Uber driver was accused of bullying colleagues at one of Britain’s top teaching hospitals.

He was sacked from his £95,000-a-year job at the University Hospital of Wales after being found guilty of misconduct in the workplace, and now earns around £12,000 in his new career with the taxi app.

But Dr O’Keefe took Cardiff & Vale University Health Board to court for unfair dismissal, and claims they wasted £1m of taxpayers’ money by unfairly sacking him.

Peter O'Keefe, 52, was accused of bullying colleagues at one of Britain's top teaching hospitals and was fired

Peter O’Keefe, 52, was accused of bullying colleagues at one of Britain’s top teaching hospitals and was fired

Dr O'Keefe earned £12,000 in his first year as an Uber driver, a significant drop from his old £95,000 salary

Dr O’Keefe earned £12,000 in his first year as an Uber driver, a significant drop from his old £95,000 salary


An out-of-court settlement was reached on the day an Employment Tribunal was about to start.

Dr O’Keefe said: ‘It’s a bitter-sweet outcome for me.

‘It’s an enormous relief not to have the pressure any more, but this has gone on so long and I can’t go back to medicine. I’ve tried to get work but I’m the wrong side of 50.

‘I came to the conclusion that the best thing was to give myself a job, so I’ve become an Uber driver, and I’m loving it.’

The health board had recommended Dr O’Keefe for a National Clinical Excellence Award in 2011 – just months before suspending him from the University Hospital of Wales for alleged bullying.

Dr O'Keefe had been recommended for a National Clinical Excellence Award in 2011 - just months before he was suspended

Dr O’Keefe had been recommended for a National Clinical Excellence Award in 2011 – just months before he was suspended

It was claimed up to 40 colleagues came forward to complain about his behaviour at the 1,000 bed hospital in Cardiff.

Dr O’Keefe felt he was being victimised for raising the alarm about a patient left in a ‘vegetative state’ after becoming disconnected from a ventilator for more than 10 minutes.

An investigation of the patient’s treatment identified more than 20 safety failings.

Other doctors on the surgical wards thought Dr O’Keefe’s career was ended prematurely because of his management style.

At the time of his suspension a friend of the consultant’s said: ‘The allegations against him had nothing to do with his clinical competence as a surgeon.

‘He is a forceful and assertive character. It can be very stressful in an operating theatre, and some people have taken exception to his manner.

‘Ten years ago perhaps people wouldn’t have made anything of it.

‘A lot of people did make complaints against him, but there was a degree of rounding-up that went on, and some were more keen on complaining than others.’

After three years suspended on full pay the father-of-four was sacked in 2015.

The General Medical Council investigated and took no action but Dr O’Keefe’s suspension went on for so long he was unable to retain his licence to practice medicine.

He said: ‘I can no longer work as a doctor which is the only work I have known since I was 22. ‘My mental health has suffered also.

‘When I was working I was a resilient, dynamic, mentally agile individual undertaking a demanding job, but was doing what I had always wanted to do.

Despite his substantially lower income, Dr O'Keefe is enjoying his new career as an Uber driver

Despite his substantially lower income, Dr O’Keefe is enjoying his new career as an Uber driver

Dr O'Keefe reached an out-of-court settlement on the day an employment tribunal was about to start

Dr O’Keefe reached an out-of-court settlement on the day an employment tribunal was about to start


‘I was diagnosed with anxiety straight after being suspended, I haven’t slept properly ever since.’

The out-of-court settlement has a confidentiality clause preventing either party discussing its terms.

It is believed to be a six-figure sum but not enough for the doctor to give up work – he still has two children in full-time education.

Dr O’Keefe said: ‘I had to do something and the opportunity of driving an Uber came up – it meant I could be my own boss.

‘I got my licence on August 1 and I’m enjoying it, I’ve met some interesting people and had some interesting conversations.’

The date is significant – it was 20 years to the day that he started work as a houseman in London and 16 years to the day that he became a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales.


NHS buries 19,000 ‘suspect’ deaths: Expert demands urgent probe into ‘avoidable’ fatalities amid shock claims dozens of hospitals across Britain are ‘potentially unsafe’

  • Sir Brian Jarman – man who helped expose Mid-Staffs scandal – made discovery
  • Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb demanded Jeremy Hunt investigate
  • Sir Brian calculated 32,810 ‘unexpected’ deaths in English hospitals in five years
  • But using the preferred NHS method, 13,627 were classed as such – 19,183 fewer

The NHS has covered up thousands of ‘suspect’ deaths in hospitals across England, sparking calls for an urgent inquiry, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

According to the expert who helped to expose the Mid-Staffordshire hospitals scandal – where hundreds died due to poor care – health chiefs have systematically excluded up to 19,000 ‘unexpected’ deaths from official statistics over the past five years.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman says his shocking findings mean there are dozens of ‘potentially unsafe’ hospitals that should be investigated over high death rates, but which are being overlooked.

Last night, Liberal Democrat Health spokesman Norman Lamb demanded that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt look into the claims as a matter of urgency.

Mr Lamb, who was a Health Minister in David Cameron’s Coalition Government, said: ‘These revelation are deeply disturbing. I am writing to Jeremy Hunt and to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens asking for Prof Jarman’s analysis to be assessed as a matter of urgency and for a full response to be provided.

Scroll down for video 

The NHS method classifies just ten trusts in England (shown in blue) as having death rates above the expected range in 2016. But under Prof Jarman's analysis, another 24 (in red) should also be classified as having high mortality rates
 The NHS method classifies just ten trusts in England (shown in blue) as having death rates above the expected range in 2016. But under Prof Jarman’s analysis, another 24 (in red) should also be classified as having high mortality rates

Why these hospitals should be investigated over ‘avoidable’ fatalities

  His family’s lawyer described the death of Kayden Urmston-Bancroft (pictured) as ‘entirely preventable’

Avoidable death #1

Little Kayden Urmston-Bancroft died of a heart attack last year after doctors at a hospital where death rates are now under scrutiny failed to operate on him for three days. His family’s lawyer described Kayden’s death as ‘entirely preventable’.

The 20-month-old had a life-threatening hernia and was due to have an operation to rectify the problem after being admitted to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, above, in April 2016. His grandmother, Julie Rowlands, claimed Kayden was ‘put in a room and left’. He subsequently went into cardiac arrest and died two days later.

‘All we got, nearly every day, was, “He’s not having the operation today,” ’ she said. Surgeons claimed managers had prioritised hitting waiting-time targets for pre-planned operations over emergency care.

The Trust has been ranked as having normal death rates for the past five calendar years. But under Prof Jarman’s analysis, it should have been classed as having high death rates in 2012 and 2016.

'Brilliant mum': Deborah O'Hara with her daughter Caitlin, now 22

‘Brilliant mum’: Deborah O’Hara with her daughter Caitlin, now 22

Avoidable death #2

When mother-of-three Deborah O’Hara died in June 2015, three days after a cancer operation at University Hospital Coventry – one those highlighted by Professor Jarman – her husband Andy believed his wife had been the victim of tragic bad luck.

But the 45-year-old’s untimely death had been caused by a surgical error, which hospital bosses neglected to reveal to Mr O’Hara or the coroner. He found out three months later when told by journalists.

Mrs O’Hara’s death came when the NHS Trust which runs the hospital was classed as having an ‘expected’ mortality rate. However, under Prof Jarman’s analysis, it should have been ranked as having a higher than expected death rate.

During the six-hour operation, consultant urologist Dr Andrew Blacker mistakenly clamped a large artery, causing a lack of blood supply to Mrs O’Hara’s bowel.

At her inquest last December, Mr O’Hara said he and his family had lost ‘a lovely wife’ and a ‘brilliant mum’. The Trust apologised to the family.

‘The concern is that, if Prof Jarman is right, possible causes of unexpected deaths will go unnoticed, leaving NHS patients unacceptably at risk.’

Prof Jarman reached his alarming conclusions after studying official hospital death rate figures using an internationally accepted method – a method used as standard in health systems across Europe and the United States.

He calculated that there were 32,810 ‘unexpected’ deaths in English hospitals over the past five years. But using the NHS’s preferred method, only 13,627 were classed as such – a difference of 19,183 deaths.

In addition, the method Prof Jarman used, which is recommended by the UK’s Association of Public Health Observatories, classified 34 hospital trusts across England – responsible for 87 acute and community hospitals – as having significantly high death rates last year. By contrast, the NHS method counted just ten trusts, covering 18 hospitals, as having death rates above ‘expected’ levels.

When Prof Jarman raised concerns about the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust in 2007, he was ignored by the Department of Health – but it became one of the most shocking NHS scandals in history.

Now he says NHS officials are ‘fudging the figures’, resulting in potentially fatal problems on hospital wards being ignored. He added: ‘If you use internationally accepted criteria, then 34 hospital trusts have high death rates.

‘But because the NHS is using what might be called a “fudge factor”, they are only identifying ten.

‘As a result, we don’t know if anybody is taking any notice of these other 24 potentially unsafe hospital trusts. This is worrying because there might be serious clinical problems, and issues with patient safety, that are not being addressed.’

Prof Jarman said the NHS had used the internationally recognised system, called Byar’s confidence intervals, in the past.

Until January 2012 it was used in tandem with another method – called overdispersion – which aims to give hospital trusts more leeway before being classed as having high death rates. But the Byar’s method was then dropped, with bosses at NHS Digital, the Health Service’s statistics body, saying it was confusing to have two systems running at once.

They chose the overdispersion method – which results in far fewer hospital trusts being classed as having significantly high death rates. Under that system, a trust is regarded as having a high death rate only if its measure, called the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator, or SHMI, is about 12 per cent or more above the national average.

In contrast, the Byar’s method, which Prof Jarman applied, is much stricter, classing anything with a SHMI of more than six or seven per cent above the national average as significantly high.

Disturbing parallels with the Mid-Staffs scandal

Investigator: Sir Brian Jarman 

Investigator: Sir Brian Jarman 


Ten years ago Professor Sir Brian Jarman, sent a series of ‘mortality alerts’ to health bosses about what was then a little-known part of the NHS in the middle of England. Its name? Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

He and his colleagues at the Dr Foster Intelligence Unit were concerned that death rates at Mid-Staffs, as it became known, were considerably higher than average. How much higher? About 27 per cent.

‘When we published that, the Department of Health insisted that people take no notice of our data,’ Prof Jarman recalled last night. ‘We asked them, “Why not?”, but we never got a proper explanation.’

But he and his team were on to something big.

Soon afterwards, personal reports of the shocking ‘care’ that patients at Stafford Hospital had received started emerging. Added to the death rate data, the reports led to an investigation by the Healthcare Commission, the watchdog at the time.

Its report, and subsequent official inquiries, revealed a culture pervading all levels of the Health Service, where criticism of the NHS was ignored or suppressed – with lethal consequences.

NHS bosses argued the approach they chose was the more suitable of the two, as it ‘better reflected’ the difficulties in comparing death rates among hospitals which serve very different areas.

Some serve populations that are poorer and sicker than others, meaning that – if the quality of hospital care is the same – they are likely to have higher death dates.

Hospital mortality rates are adjusted to take into account these underlying demographic differences, to create a level playing field. However, NHS Digital argues that these differences produce so much statistical noise, that many more hospital trusts need to be given the benefit of the doubt.

Prof Jarman said: ‘I object to the system NHS Digital is using, because they are applying a method which really just reduces the number of high death rate hospital trusts.’ He claimed even advocates of the NHS approach admitted it was not based on ‘hard science’.

And he said that if a trust was reclassified as having a ‘normal’ death rate, then hundreds of deaths previously classed as ‘unexpected’ would suddenly be recast as normal too.

Worryingly, Prof Jarman’s painstaking research shows a clutch of hospital trusts with consistently high death rates are flying just below NHS Digital’s radar.

Among them is United Lincolnshire NHS Trust, officially categorised as having a high death rate in 2015 only during the five-year period from 2012 to 2016. But under the Byar’s system it would have been marked as a high death rate trust in four of those five years. United Lincolnshire, which runs four hospitals in Lincoln, Grantham, Boston and Louth, was put in special measures for an unprecedented second time in April, after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found ‘a deterioration across a number of services’.

Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, officially rated ‘normal’ in four of the five years, would instead have been classed as ‘high’ in all five years under the Byar’s method.

The latest CQC reports for this trust, published in July 2015, gave it a ‘requires improvement’ notice – the second lowest ranking after ‘inadequate’.

Last night Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders urged hospitals to be open with their patients about the quality of services.

He said: ‘Jeremy Hunt has claimed transparency as his watchword. He ought to do much more to reassure the public that safety and quality at every local hospital is as good as it can possibly be.’

But Professor David Spiegelhalter, president of the Royal Statistical Society, defended NHS Digital’s approach. Prof Spiegelhalter, who was a member of the team that selected overdispersion, said it rightly gave ‘some additional leeway to hospitals, to allow for the inevitable problems of fairly comparing mortality rates’.

He added: ‘The formulaused to calculate mortality rates is meant to take into account all the real-life differences between populations served by different hospitals, such as age and degree of illness. But it can never do that perfectly.’

Ignoring these comparison problems, as Prof Jarman’s system did, was therefore unjustified, he said.

Dr Richard Andrews, associate medical director of United Lincolnshire Trust, said: ‘We don’t accept Prof Jarman’s interpretation of our mortality figures.’

Professor Simon Constable, medical director of Warrington and Halton Hospitals, said its mortality rates had been falling over the past two years and were now within the ‘expected’ range.

Ministers can’t sweep these statistics under the carpet, writes NHS campaigner Fiona Bell

Imagine for a moment that a fifth of NHS hospitals in England were officially classed as having abnormally high death rates. It would be scandalous.

People would wonder if their local hospital was up to scratch. And they might question how well the NHS was coping after years of financial restraint.

You can see how the powers- that-be might not be too keen on publishing statistics like that. You can see how they might choose to use a method that minimised the number of hospital trusts classed as having high mortality rates.

And that is exactly what Prof Jarman’s excellent analysis has exposed.

He has discovered that, using an internationally accepted statistical method, 34 hospital trusts across England last year had mortality rates above the ‘expected’ range.

By contrast, using its own method, NHS Digital classed ten trusts as having high death rates.

This ‘official’ method meant a hospital trust could have a mortality rate that was 11 per cent above the national average, and still be classed as ‘normal’.

Is this right? Or does it risk sweeping under the carpet very real problems at a significant number of our hospitals?

I know what I think.

Since my grandfather died in 2009, having suffered no fewer than 17 falls at Wansbeck and Blyth hospitals in Northumberland, I have campaigned to improve NHS care. Before he died, he made me promise: ‘Don’t let what happened to me happen to anyone else.’

Sadly, so many times over the past decade I have heard the hollow promise that ‘lessons will be learned’ from some entirely preventable tragedy; or the empty pledge of greater ‘openness and transparency’ after a cover-up.

In fact, Jeremy Hunt has tried to make transparency the byword of his long spell as Health Secretary. He’s sold himself as the man who will not let another Mid-Staffs happen on his watch.

But Mr Hunt and his mandarins risk burying their heads in the sand if they blindly accept statistics that appear to show that all is well in our hospitals.

And if they can’t see the truth of what’s going on – or don’t want to – then that’s a dangerous thing.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4847184/Expert-demands-urgent-probe-avoidable-fatalities.html#ixzz4ramih9TD
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Hospital boss who defrauded NHS is ordered to tell court how she is going to repay it

Devon Live  29 August 2017

Paula Vasco-Knight was given a suspended prison sentence in March

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of former NHS chief executive Paula Vasco-Knight, 53, being comforted by her husband Stephen Vasco-Knight, after being allowed to walk free from Exeter Crown Court

A former Devon hospital boss who defrauded the NHS of £11,000 has been told to reply to an order requesting details of her financial assets.

Paula Vasco-Knight was given a suspended prison sentence in March after admitting paying her graphic designer husband, Stephen, the NHS cash for work that never existed.

Paula Vasco-Knight, former chief executive of Torbay Hospital
Paula Vasco-Knight, former chief executive of Torbay Hospital


At the time she was chief executive of South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and national lead for equalities for NHS England.

After her sentence a timetable was set for the money to be recovered using the Proceeds of Crime Act.

A short hearing took place on Tuesday morning at Exeter Crown Court. Prosecutor Gareth Evans said Vasco-Knight and her husband had not responded to the POCA request and a new timetable would have to be set.

The couple must tell the court whether they agree with the prosecution’s assessment of their financial assets.

Vasco-Knight and her husband were not present for the short hearing.

Recorder David Bartlett gave the pair until to September 16 to respond.

If the couple do not respond they will be required to return to court and explain the delay.

The 53-year-old was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, She was also told to do 250 hours of unpaid work.
Stephen Vasco-Knight was jailed for 10 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.












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