The Facts

 Written evidence submitted to The Health Select Committee by Sharmila Chowdhury and extracts from Interim Relief Hearing  with current updates

Summary

• I have given 30 years of flawless service to the NHS. I raised concerns that very substantial sums of money were being paid to two consultants who were working over several years at a private hospital when paid by the Trust. The practice was not stopped and I have never seen the outcome of any investigation into my concerns. I was dismissed after false counter allegation were made. I won at the Interim Relief Hearing and disciplinary appeal. I have been unable to find work. One job offer was withdrawn when they discovered I was a whistleblower.

I am now financially ruined and seriously ill with cancer, that consultants believe may be linked to the stress of my treatment and I am about to lose my home.

My story is not uncommon for NHS whistleblowers. 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. What happened to me is still happening to others across the NHS.

• I was a Budget holder for the radiology department at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust ( “the Trust”) where 2 consultant radiologists were moonlighting regularly at a private hospital at times for when they scheduled to work at, and being paid by, the Trust

Correspondence with 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

• Matter was escalated to both my line manager and the line manager of the 2 consultants. Both confirmed this was a problem. One consultant admitted both to me and his line manager, that he was at the private hospital at material times on 27 April 2009 (page 10)

• My concerns were escalated to The HR Director, Medical Director and The Chief Executive

• Work which could not be completed due to private hospital commitments appeared to be completed out-of-hours and overtime was then being claimed

One Consultant was being paid for 13 sessions a week, i.e. 6.5 days, whilst at work for half that time (page 7 of Evidence)

• There was double claiming of payments and for hours not worked

• In September 2009, I discovered that the RIS/PACS manager in the department had failed to upload approximately 100 patients’ data for 6 months. Some of these patients would have had life-threatening conditions possibly compromising their prognosis. I wrote a letter to the RIS/PACS manager advising him that a formal investigation would take place

• In November 2009 false verbal counter-allegations were made against me by the RIS/PACS manager on advice from one of the reported consultants

• I was escorted out of the building and suspended; taking with me copy evidence and correspondence relating to my whistleblowing. I was subsequently dismissed despite no evidence of any wrongdoing. John Coleman was the investigating manager.

• On 2 July 2010, I took the matter to an Interim Relief Hearing before an Employment Tribunal, an option available for those dismissed for whistleblowing to have their contract reinstated. My trade union, the Society of Radiographers were unable to fund, and my lawyers/barristers acted for part of this stage pro bono. I won the case. Only a handful of whistleblowing cases have ever won at this stage. However, the Trust refused to let me return to work when asked by the judge

• On 25 February 2011, I also won appeal against dismissal. But still I was not allowed back to work. A spurious claim was made that new technology had been introduced that I was not trained to use.

• On 23 January 2012, I settled out of court . My Legal expenses totalled over £130,000 and I paid £77,500 from my 2 years pay of redundancy settlement. Trust offered an apology.

• I had applied for numerous jobs. One Trust withdrew their offer when they discovered I was a whistleblower and withdrew interview when I had applied again, two years later.

• I had reported the matter to the Treasury, Care Quality Commission, Department of Health, NHS London, Counter fraud and to number 10. My MP twice wrote to the Department of health. All responded stating they could not get involved, and took the same approach after I had won my interim relief hearing

• There has been no independent investigation into my raised concerns, despite having documented evidence

• My case has been Featured in The Independent twice, BBC News, Channel 4 News and BBC’s Inside Out programme

• The Chief Executive, HR Director, Medical Director and case manager have not been held accountable for addressing the allegations of fraud I reported to them and my treatment as a whistleblower

• ITV undercover surveillance over a period of several months discovered in 2013 that consultants at the Trust were still being absent during their paid sessions and Miranda Harvie and Akkib Rafique were caught on camera taking payments for private ultrasounds within Ealing Hospital which went into an account they set up

• In July 2013 I had been diagnosed with breast and lung cancer. Many consultants believe this is due to the stress of whistleblowing

• I am now in severe financial difficulties. I will soon lose my home. My future pension has also been compromised, as I have not found further NHS work.

Introduction

1. I worked in the NHS since 1980, qualified as a radiographer in 1983 with 30 years of employment, without blemish.

2. I joined Ealing Hospital in February 2003 as Deputy Imaging Manager. Promoted to Imaging Manger in May 2008.

3. I was responsible for 60 staff members which did not include consultant radiologists, budget holder and responsible for signing-off additional work and attendances of all staff, including the consultant radiologists.

The reason for this submission is that I am advised mine is one of the strongest whistleblowing cases, as I won an Interim Relief Hearing at Employment Tribunal following my dismissal, but have been, left without real protection as a whistle blower. Raising concerns which I saw as my duty, has left me jobless, penniless and will soon be homeless and I am ill with cancer. Yet those responsible have not been held accountable, nor has there been any formal independent investigation into the concerns raised. Moreover huge amounts of public money which should have been spent on patients have been wasted.

Protected Disclosures

Issue 1

1. In July 2007 I discovered that Miranda Harvie, consultant radiologist at Ealing Trust was paid weekly for 13 sessions though working half this time, (page 7), as evidenced by the weekly rota and documentation from the Trust’s Finance Department.

2. I brought this to the attention of Kalpesh Chavda, Finance manager, and Walter Curati, Clinical Director, in July 2007. Also during 2008 and 2009 to both Jat Harchowal (Assistant Director of Operations and line manager) and Randy Mannie, Finance Manager.

3. Curati, and Harchowal, stated this was a matter of serious concern, and that they had discussed this matter with Bill Lynn, the Medical Director in February 2009 and executive team members in March 2009.

Issue 2

4. On 30 March 2009, following an urgent A&E where no available consultant radiologists could be found, I discovered that Peter Schnatterbeck, a consultant radiologist, and Harvie were undertaking sessions at Clementine Churchill, a private hospital, whilst seeking payment for sessions scheduled at the same time at the Trust. Correspondence from Clementine Churchill (page 3) confirmed that they had been attending that hospital since April 2006.

5. On 23 April 2009, Curati and Harchowal were advised of this by me by e-mail. Schnatterbeck, admitted this in his e-mail of 27 April 2009 which I forwarded to Curati that day. On 27 July 2009 Curati wrote to Bill Lynn, (page 13) Medical Director, stating that Schnatterbeck, when challenged, had immediately admitted this.

6. Visits to Clementine Churchill continued, and the matter was again raised by me on 30 July to Curati, Harchowal and Amar Dass, HR manager. An e-mail from Harchowal on 30 July in response stated that they had informed Paul Stanton, the HR Director.

7. In July, August and September 2009 with two of my colleagues, I sent anonymous letters to NHS Counter Fraud. We were too scared to put our names.

8. 24 August 2009, as absences continued I notified Stanton, Curati, Harchowal and Terry Roberts, Senior HR manager by e-mail.

9. 25 August 2009, I e-mailed Stanton, Curati, Harchowal and Roberts that Clementine Churchill confirmed by phone that Harvie was there on 24 August whilst scheduled to work at the Trust.

10. In response on 25 August 2009, (page 22) Roberts said counter fraud should be called, but subsequently said he was advised otherwise by Lynn as he, Lynn said he would ‘sort it.’

11. Harvie’s absence on 7 September 2009 was notified by me to Curati, Stanton, Roberts and Harchowal

12. On 8 September, I met Stanton to discuss my concerns as suggested by Roberts. Stanton said he had seen e-mails ‘flying around’ and suggested that I discuss the matter with Curati.

Issue 3

13. Discovered Schnatterbeck was claiming for an out-of-hour’s session when he had been unable to complete his work during scheduled hours. So he appeared to be claiming payment from the NHS for a daytime shift when he was not present, and then claiming an out-of-hours payment (pages 18-19) for doing work which should have been completed during scheduled hours.

14. 30 July 2009. I advised Harchowal and Curati by e-mail. Harchowal looked at the additional claims and agreed there was an issue.

15. From 7 September 2009 to the end of November 2009 the weekly roster devised by Akib Rafique, consultant radiologist, excluded Harvie and Schnatterbeck on Mondays (pages 9-15) when working at Clementine Churchill, though they were still claiming payment for a full session at the Trust. This was presumably done to stop staff enquiring about their whereabouts. This was done for 7, 14, 28 September, 5, 19, 26 October, 9 and 16 November 2009.

16. 6 October 2009, in the absence of Roberts, I contacted Dass for advice regarding marking their attendance in register. She advised me to mark these sessions as unauthorised absence, which I did.

Issue 4

17. On 22 September 2009, Harchowal and Curati informed by me that consultants were claiming 4 hour s waiting list sessions – when bookings were for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Payments were an enhanced rate of £100 per hour. £400 for a 4 hour session.

18. On 23 September 2009, Curati confirmed that waiting list sessions were paid at £400 and should last 4 hours.

19. On 30 September 2009, I notified Stanton, Roberts, Seema Ahmed, HR manager, David Cahill, Philippa Graves, Operations Director and Curati of these concerns as the matter had not been discussed with the relevant consultants, who were putting pressure on me to stop interfering. On 1 October 2009, I was e-mailed by Rafique (page 13) confirming radiologists worked 3 hours but claimed 4, and he did not appreciate me dictating their working hours.

Issue 5

20. Harvie, Rafique and Schnattebeck were claiming overtime whilst being paid to be in the department. So double claiming, (pages 15-19). 19 October 2009, I advised David Cahill, my interim manager, of this by e-mail.

All Issues

21. 19 October 2009, I met with David Pratt, Finance Director. Cahill had previously advised me not to speak to either Julie Lowe, the Chief Executive or Pratt, regarding my concerns at the Directorate finance meeting which discussed the overspend in Radiology. Cahill suggested that carrots rather than stick needed to be used with regards to the radiologists. Philippa Graves, Director of Operations, advised that she would sort out the radiologists and I should not to leave myself open to criticism.

22. On 21 October I met with Pratt, after discussing my concerns with Lowe who seemed aware of ongoing problems. I handed over documents to Pratt evidencing my concerns. Pratt called in Ealing Fraud Department to investigate my concerns.

23. On early November 2009, I discussed my concerns with Grant Bezuidenhout, Team Manager, from Ealing Counter Fraud services, supplying relevant documents. I heard nothing further about the investigation until 3 June 2010, the day before being dismissed, when I was asked for contact details at the Clementine Churchill for an investigation being conducted into two doctors. This was 8 months after documents were first submitted.

Issue 7

24. In September 2009, I discovered a serious incident where the PACS/RIS manager, Mike McWha, had not uploaded nuclear medicine reports and images for approximately 100 patients over 6 months, many of whom would have had life-threatening conditions. I raised this issue and sent a letter to him on 2 October 2009 indicating an investigation would commence.

My treatment

25. Harchowal warned me during 2009 that Harvie and Curati were trying to get rid of me. He thought this was due to my protected disclosures.

26. In October 2009 HR/payroll deducted £3,000 from Harvie’s and Schnatterbeck’s pay for unauthorised absences, though they were subsequently refunded as they had not been pre-warned. Harvie held me responsible. Staff witnessed Harvie complaining/swearing about me.

27. 17 November 2009, I was called into John Coleman’s office, Director of Operations, and informed I was being suspended due to serious fraud allegations. I was escorted from the building in front of staff.

28. Staff were warned against contacting me or they would be disciplined.

29. Verbal allegations, had been made by McWha (after being advised by Harvie), 15 January 2010 in his interview with investigatory team.

30. On 17 and 18 November, I emailed Lowe and Pratt, expressing concern that this action was being taken against me due to my protected disclosures.

31. Prior to my suspension no one asked me how and when I undertook  reporting. It appeared that the Trust had simply acted on an allegation made by two individuals about whom I had raised concerns, without analysing the evidence, contrary to the way in which it had dealt with the disclosures I had made, which had all been backed up by evidence.

32. On 14 December 2009, I was formally charged with “Fraudulent Behaviour (Undertaking additional paid work during core hours on 16 occasions between March 2009 and October 2009)” and told that this allegation if proven, constituted gross misconduct.

33.  I attended an investigatory meeting on 22 December 2009.  At that meeting, I confirmed that the reporting work I did had been agreed with Walter Curati and the previous imaging manager, and that I was permitted to do a maximum of 1000 reports per month but that that agreement was not in writing.

 34. I was presented with the PACS system data for the first time at that meeting.  This I was told showed that the PACS system which I used to carry out the reporting work, had been logged onto during normal working hours.  However, the data supplied was totally flawed. The data showed that the I had reported at times when the PACS system was not logged onto, on some occasions, it showed that I was reporting in excess of 150 films in less than 15 minutes (which would have been impossible, each report taking approximately 1 minute), I was reporting for a full 24 hours on 4 occasions and on one occasion reporting whilst I was on annual leave. I also confirmed that the PACS system would often be left on and that, after a period of time, whilst the screen blanked out, the system remained open but that it was normally switched off overnight. The fact that the data was flawed was clearly evident and did not need a specialist to work out that it was full of inaccuracies.  In addition, I confirmed that I needed to access the PACS system at times to carry out my normal duties which included having to advise staff on image quality (QA) which are referred to the individuals or to the person in charge in the sorting area with the request forms as I am sometimes presented with images with wrong markers or with wrong or missing views, view trauma GP patients in absence of radiologists, save images for training/teaching/interviews and deal with other queries.  This was confirmed by Mike Mcwha in his interview on  page 6 , ‘ MM confirmed that SC could look up the images on RIS and PACS’ when there were queries and on  page 7, ‘Staff can make mistakes so there may be an occasion when SC might review that with a staff member.’.

35. I followed up this meeting with a note setting out my response to the allegations.  I confirmed in that note that I started work at 8am every day, and although contracted to work 37.5 hours per week, there was in fact no contracted start and finish times and that where reporting was done between 8am and 9am, I would complete my contracted hours for those days by staying at least until the corresponding time at the end of the day and that I frequently worked in excess of my contracted hours, as well as working through my lunch breaks.  I also pointed out significant challenges to the PACS data and showed, from analysis of my emails, that at numerous times where I was apparently logged on to the PACS system, I was actually conducting my normal duties, such as attending meetings, dealing with department issues, writing policies, protocols  as highlighted by sent emails and my electronic diary.

36. On 1 April 2010, I was provided with a copy of the report produced by Cathy Garlick, after she had conducted her investigation into the allegations against me.  That investigation was flawed in that Ms Garlick made no effort to investigate significant parts of my response to the allegations, placed undue weight on the statement of Mr McWha, and made no reference to the concerns I had raised that these allegations had been made against me because of my protected disclosures.  It also ignored significant evidence which I had presented.  Even then, the report concluded that Ms Garlick was unable to identify when reporting activity actually took place.  It did not make any recommendations that I should face disciplinary proceedings and its only recommendation was that “The need for additional reporting to take place should be reassessed as this arrangement has been in place for a length of time.  If additional reporting of PACs images is required, a formal, written agreement stating number of images and expected times of work should be agreed”.

37. That report also contained a letter from Walter Curati who had confirmed that I had been trained to do the reporting work, was regularly monitored and there were no issues regarding my performance.

38. However, despite that, I was then invited to a disciplinary hearing to face charges of gross misconduct. It is believed that the only evidence placed before the disciplinary panel was Ms Garlick’s investigation report and its appendices (which included notes of interviews from just myself and McWha and my statements, as referred to above).

39. I then submitted a file to the disciplinary panel, containing 12 witness statements from those in my department, all exceptionally positive about me as a manager and confirming that the fact that I worked well in excess of my contracted 37.5 hours per week as I frequently came in at weekends, whilst on annual leave and worked late. I also submitted a printout of my work diary which showed that I often had work meetings during my lunch breaks, which were unpaid.  In addition, the file contained an email from an individual at Clementine Churchill, who confirmed that Miranda Harvie (MH) had been bragging about how she had managed to get rid of the manager and that she was very proud of what she had done.

40. I submitted a full response to the statement of Mike McWha and provided full details of the concerns that had raised with him as regards the performance of his duties.

41. Two of my witnesses had been prepared to give evidence in support of me.  However, when I had emailed Cynthia Artry in HR, and Linda Madely, deputy HR Director on 29 April and 13 May, expressing a request that they be called during their lunch break so that Miranda Harvie would not suspect their absence, and asking if the blinds overlooking the X-ray corridor could be pulled down so that they wouldn’t be seen, I received no response.

42.I then attended a disciplinary hearing on 4 June 2010 with my union representative, Paul Bromley.   However, it was clear at that hearing that none of the panel had read my file, despite it being handed 3 weeks previously.  For example, Mr Coleman asked for the documentation relating to my allegations against Mike McWha, even though all of that information was contained in the file I had submitted.  Further, the Respondent did not call my two witnesses.

43. The disciplinary panel then retired in order to consider their finding. Notes from the disciplinary meeting have to date have not been provided.  However, 23 days later, they returned and confirmed that they found me guilty of fraud and that they did not accept that I worked through lunch as “that was a breach of the Working Time Directive” and that I had failed to provide evidence that I made up for the time and that I had undertaken the work during my core hours.  This was despite the fact that;

a. Nowhere in my contract of employment, or in my job description, does it state what my core hours were. I have contacted Cynthia Artry, HR manager, via email on 9 June 2010 and on 15 June 2010 to provide me with a copy of my contract. However, I have not been sent a copy.

b. Cathy Garlick, presenting the management case, had admitted that there was no written contract for the reporting work but that the Trust had authorised it;

c. I would commence work at 8am, worked through my lunch break and frequently worked until 5 or 6pm, well in excess of my contracted 37.5 hours per week;

d.The radiologists and most others in the department did not commence work until 9am;

e. The panel dismissed the evidence given by some of the 12 members of staff many of whom gave witness statements confirming that they had never seen me take a lunch break and also that they had frequently seen me working late in the evening and at weekends as well as coming in during my annual leave;

f. The panel also dismissed printed copy of my work electronic diary which clearly showed I had booked meetings which showed I was working during lunch periods.

g. They dismissed the evidence of my good character;

h.Cathy Garlick, presenting the management case, had admitted that there were inaccuracies in the PACS data such that Internal Fraud had admitted that they could not say when the reporting work had been undertaken;

i. I had confirmed that I needed to use the PACS system during the day to carry out my normal duties;

j. They took no account of my concerns that these allegations were being made against me because I had made protected disclosures;

 

44. McWha was given access to my office, containing CDs of nuclear medicine patients. He destroyed the CDs. This was confirmed to me 19 April 2010 by Cynthia Artry, HR manager.

45. The Trust, in their Annual Report 2009/10, gave McWha ‘Top Mentor’ award.

46. 1 April 2010, over 4 months after my suspension, I was given the report by Cathy Garlick, after her investigation. It failed to find any wrongdoing on my part and there was no recommendation that I should face disciplinary proceedings.

47. Nevertheless, I was invited to a disciplinary hearing by Coleman, facing charges of gross misconduct of fraud.

48. I submitted a file containing 12 witness staff statements, all exceptionally positive about me. In addition, the file contained an e-mail from an individual at Clementine Churchill, who confirmed that Harvie (MH) had been ‘bragging’ she had managed to get rid of the manager and that she was very proud of that.

49. I also submitted full details of the concerns I had raised with McWha.

50. The disciplinary hearing was on 4 June 2010, 7 months after my suspension. The panel had not read my file, despite it being handed 3 weeks previously. The panel did not call my two witnesses.

51. 23 days later, they confirmed they found me guilty of fraud and I was summarily dismissed on 4 June 2010.

52. In addition, I was subjected to the following:

a. Within two weeks of my suspension, my name removed from my office door, and my furniture and PACS station were removed, (page 5)

b. I was not paid normal full-pay during my 7 month suspension, leading to significant financial crisis.

c. An Advert was placed by the Trust for a Service Manager for Radiology and Pathology in April 2010. I was the Imaging (Radiology) Service Manager. Most of the responsibilities of the 2 posts were identical

d. One of the clerical staff, had reported that Harvie on 23 December 2009, the day after my investigatory meeting, said in the main reception desk, ‘upwards and outwards’ with reference to me. Harvie was being kept informed by panel member with regards to my case.

e. The Imaging Manager from Clementine Churchill in an e-mail to me on 12 April 2010, stated that Harvie had been bragging how she managed to get rid of the manager, stating that she considered Harvie to be ‘dangerous’. Given that Harvie was already being kept informed, this further highlighted that decision to move to dismiss me was being discussed with her.

Examples of unprofessional behaviour, lack of respect and victimisation

53. 17 November 2009 McWha wrote in an email, ‘DING DONG SHARMILA’S GONE’. Written within minutes after being escorted out of the building.

54. 29 December 2009 McWha wrote, ‘Ummm I raised some concerns about SC’s reporting work and she has been on suspension for 5 weeks now, as she is being investigated for fraud. I don’t think she’s coming back. She got marched off the premises by HR, got told to take everything, and go and to have no contact with staff. James has her name plate at his home now and should have already have fastened it to his toilet aka “the Chowdhury”. What else can I say, with a tear in my eye, I thought of you as she drove away. ‘

Signed off as ‘ 0800-FUCK-YOU-BITCH’

Actions taken by myself

Interim Relief Hearing

55. Following dismissal I took my case to Interim Relief Hearing on 9 July 2010. Coleman, the manager who oversaw my suspension and dismissal was questioned at hearing. 2 barristers from Matrix, James Laddie (now QC) and Helen Mountfield QC represented me instructed by Julie Morris, from Russell, Jones and Walker.

56. I won the case proving that I was dismissed as a direct result of whistleblowing. Judge Mahoney wrote, ‘I am satisfied that the claimant does have a pretty good chance of success in a claim for automatic dismissal on the grounds of her making a protected disclosure and in those circumstances I am going to grant the application for interim relief.’

57. When asked by Judge Mahoney as to whether I would be allowed to return to work. Stanton, who spoke on behalf of Ealing Trust at the hearing, said ‘no’

58. My contract was reinstated with full pay but I was not allowed back at work.

59. My Trade Union, the Society of Radiographers could not cover legal expenses. So, even though some work was provided pro bono, I was responsible for the rest.

60. My case was highlighted in several journals and twice in The Independent, as well as BBC’s Inside Out programme and Channel 4 news.

Appeal hearing

61. I appealed against dismissal to an independent investigating officer who was appointed by the Trust. The hearing was held on 11 January 2011. I won the appeal but was not allowed back to work.

62. For the appeal, my union representative was out of the country and advised me that a colleague would come with me to the appeal. His colleague declined as my case was too complicated. So I attended with a friend.

63. Many of my witnesses felt threatened as the secretary to the HR Director called them to ask if they wanted to speak to the investigator.

Governing bodies

64. I wrote to George Osborne at Treasury, Andrew Lansley at Department of Health, David Cameron at No 10 and Ruth Carnall at NHS London. All stated that it was an ‘employment’ issue and therefore they were unable to intervene.

65. 8 June 2010, my MP, Angie Bray,  wrote to Ian Green, Chairman at Ealing Hospital. He forwarded the letter to Lowe, who responded by stating that it was going through a internal management process.

66. Having won at the interim relief hearing and proven to be a whistle-bower, on 22 July 2010 I wrote again to Lansley, with a letter from my MP. In the response, Simon Burns, Department of Health wrote, ‘NHS staff have a basic right and duty to raise concerns about health service issues with their line managers and under no circumstances should they be penalised.’ Adding, ‘I am afraid Department of Health is unable to comment on individual cases.’

67. I wrote again to Lansley on 11 September 2010. No help was given.

68. I contacted David Cameron on 21 August 2011. Number 10 said they were unable to get involved as my case had not settled.

69. My legal costs escalated to £77,500 and my case settled in  23 January 2012 with a Trust apology. I anticipate that the Trust’s legal costs were of this order if not more

70. Much of my severance payment, approximately 2 years pay, went towards my legal costs.

71. I applied for and was offered a post in writing for an Imaging Manger at an NHS Hospital. The panel, consisting of clinical staff, interviewed me was fully aware of my whistleblowing. However, a couple of weeks later, a letter from HR department withdrew the offer, presumably after having discovered I was a whistleblower.

72. I contacted David Cameron on 3 May 2012 after settlement, requesting an independent inquiry. He declined as it was seen as an ‘employment’ issue, despite it being a whistleblowing case, and having been concluded.

73. In 2012 ITV’s Exposure team undertook surveillance of Radiologists at Ealing, discovering that consultants were absent during paid hours; that Harvie and Rafique, new Clinical Director, were taking direct payments from patients for private ultrasounds within Ealing Hospital, which went into their own account. This was documented on camera. Ealing Trust confirmed to ITV, that radiology does not have provision for undertaking private work. An FOI was made of Lowe, Chief Executive, to enquire whether she knew about this; she took employment at North Middlesex Hospital within three months. ITV also interviewed Sir Geoffrey Howe.

Current situation

74. July 2013 I had been diagnosed with breast and lung cancer, for which I have been having ongoing treatment. Many, including numerous consultants believe this is due to stress from whistleblowing.

75. There was, and has been, no protection given to me – a ‘proven’ whistleblower.

76. I have been unable to secure any permanent job since leaving the Trust.

77. I have clearly been blacklisted with posts being withdrawn, job offers withdrawn and interviews cancelled on the day

78. I subsequently met with Ed jones, Special advisor to Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary. I left feeling positive. However, after a month there was no development and I wrote an open letter to Hunt copying in journalists prior to election

79. His office contacted me that evening and met with me along with six other whistleblowers. Francis Review in whistleblowing was commissioned and result was published on 11 February 2014. However, there was nothing in the report that would provide me with any redress.

80. As I had continued to make noises prior to election, Hunt’s office contacted The Trust Development Authority, TDA,  to find me a job. Job offered was for fixed term only with promise that I could apply for it as a permanent post. The post did not relate to my previous 30 years of experience and the pay was substantially less than what I was earning. However, I accepted and was assured by Hunt’s office that this was not a pre election agenda

81. Whilst in post I was subjected to adverse treatment as clearly the trust were not happy having their arms bent to take me on. I then wrote to TDA, copying in Hunt. I continued to work and completed my 12 months in post. I have kept all the evidences relating to my treatment including of those not contained in the letter.

83. In January 2015 I submitted Fit and Proper Persons Test to CQC.  On 13 July 2015, I received a response from CQC, where I was advised that none of the reported managers would be investigated.

82. My contract with The Imperial ended 30 November 2015. However, the post was made redundant due to several restructures and I have been left unemployed again. I wrote again to Hunt, Simon Stevens at NHS England, Sarah Wollaston at health select Committee, HSC,  and TDA for help.

83. Response from Hunt’s office, Steven’s office, Wollaston and TDA were not helpful

84. I have now written another open letter to Hunt, printed in the Health Service Journal

85. I am now financially ruined, and will soon lose my home with ill health

86. I have written to Hunt again

86. There has been no independent inquiry into either my raised concerns or my treatment as a whistleblower.

87. None of the managers at the Trust have been held to account for my treatment, nor the concerns raised by me investigated, despite £5.7bn a year is lost to fraud in the NHS as reported in my BBC interview. Reported consultants continue to be employed by the trust.

88. Just for the record, my father who was a doctor,  was admitted at Ealing Hospital where I had whistleblew. He was left starved, dehydrated and without life saving medication given for ten days. He later died. I had written to the Chief Executive, copying in Hunt

88. I have continued to campaign for help not for myself but for other whistleblowers as my website will demonstrate. Despite being in the media extensively no permanent solution has been found . I now need urgent help as I face being homeless without income and with cancer

9 thoughts on “The Facts

  1. Very appalled at how Shamila and others like her have been treated not just by her employer but certain staff members. Very childish behavior to be so hurtful to Shamila who I know as a hard worker. I’m very disappointed with the trust in which I us to work. I only hope all staff are sufficiently protected for speaking out. When we work we are not only trying to save the trust money but also providing a service to the community.

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  3. I’m deeply impressed for your commendable actions for your sincere concern of public interests. Your lack of concern of your personal losses for integrity. Inspirational xx

    • Thank you Kerry. I felt at the the time I was just doing my job and simply doing what I was trusted to do. Didn’t even know the meaning/implications of whistleblowing at the time. Although I did get very concerned and worried when my repeated concerns were ignored and luckily had printed version of my reported concerns when I was marched out of the premises – so had the evidence.

  4. I just can’t believe this happening in UK. I always thought, this country is civilised and law abiding.

  5. You should have been commended for speaking out, not chastised. Unfortunately this culture appears to be systemic within the NHS. Corruption is rife and the government urgently need to step in and “get a grip”, before it’s too late. What I can’t understand is; why are the fraudsters’ still at work and not facing criminal charges? Where is the public outcry, like there was with the expenses scandal?

    This is a big part of why the NHS pitches from crises to crises on a daily basis and as taxpayers we are just expected to keep throwing more money at it. Cases of this nature are very sad. I believe that; public service corruption is the early signs of a failing state.

    • Thanks Peter. I had written to Lansley, Osborne, Hunt, David Prior, NHS fraud and numerous other senior officials. They all acknowledged receipt of my correspondence – which was backed up with a full paper trail. However, all refused to act as they used the excuse that it was an ’employment’ issue and failed to recognise that it was a whistleblowing issue even when I had won the Interim Relief hearing which recognised that I was dismissed as a direct result of whistleblowing.

      I believe the reason why nothing has happened to fraudsters is because those in charge also have things to hide. If one falls they all do!!

  6. Evil prevails when good people choose to do nothing. What, then, are the good people ‘good’ for?

  7. Sharmila. Do not tell me dear, do not tell me, I have been burnt by it big time, maybe in your case as least you can find condolence in the fact that you blew whistles, in my case I never did, till lately, I was always on the receiving end, on the defence side, but the lessons you and me needed to learn: do not miss up with English high class/ upper middle class ever, suck up to them and play along, just like Rafique in your case does. I can not do that’s why I keep falling in problems

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