Tweets – 10 August 2014


Dear James,

I am responding to the event that took place 4 days ago, from which I still haven’t recovered. I thought instead of reacting immediately to the tweets that you had sent, I would try to recover and look after myself first. Please don’t ever do this again.

I am copying in senior individuals …… So some lessons need to be learnt and can move forward.

I will summarise what happened.

I blogged the article, which automatically gets tweeted, from The Times where Sir Francis says that jobs should be found for whistleblowers – which perked up a lot of whistleblowers. It was music to many.  In response to the tweet, Roger Kline, who has been helping me with meeting Trust Development Authority,   TDA, writing letters etc. in order to find me a job, tweeted and asked what was happening with the job. I stated that I had not heard from Hunt, Ed, TDA or The imperial.

I met with  ……….. on July 8th. I was referred to him by CEO of TDA. He said that a senior manager would be in contact with me who was was on leave. We discussed possible options. To date no one has contacted me. I with help of Roger wrote to Hunt and to …. Still no response.

In the meantime, I received an email from Fiona Bell advising me that Ed Jones, had informed her that I had been ‘offered an excellent job in the NHS.’ He had misinformed Fiona.

Following my response to Rogers’s tweet, you intervened and asked me about my job. You asked why had I turned down a job? I said I hadn’t. You then went on to say that I had turned down fixed offer of 1 year’s contract. Which I replied I hadn’t. However, your tweets got worse and you would not accept what I was saying.

David Drew intervened and tweeted:


David Drew‏@NHSwhistleblowr

@JamesTitcombe @sharmilaxx @Unity_portal That looks unsympathetic J. That’s not a real job. And the blacklisting remains for the future.


However, the tweets continued as you continued to disbelieve.


Kay Sheldon, CQC, then tweeted that some who are supporting whistleblowers are not what they seem (the tweet has been removed from twitter). You retweeted this in agreement – hinting I was lying.

Your tweets continued for an hour and a half. It was finally put to a stop by Fiona Bell.


Fiona Bell ‏@Unity_portal 2m

@EdPHJ11 @rogerkline Enough Please @JamesTitcombe is it appropriate for an officer of the CQC to be upsetting a cancer patient @sharmilaxx


You then called me to apologise for your tweets and said that you are under a huge pressure. You also mentioned being bullied by Rita Pal on twitter. Unfortunately, I too have had bad experiences. So have many of us. However, I just ignore. We also discussed my situation and you finally understood.

It was a shame that I was grilled for an hour and a half before you chose to call and only after being halted by Fiona.

Directly after your phone call, you closed your twitter account, removing all your messages, some of which were inappropriate in tone. It is a shame that you didn’t think to apologise to me on twitter and recognise openly that you had genuinely got things wrong. Because tweets continued as people really believed I had been offered a job and I had turned it down.

It is also a shame that you didn’t think to discuss my situation by phone, text or email before confronting me in public with false statements. It felt like a smear campaign.

Roger sent you an email following this to clarify and confirm my work situation.

The onslaught was witnessed by several whistleblowers who were alarmed to see a senior member of CQC bullying a whistleblower. The very person who is supposed to be supporting them. Whistleblowers get bullied with false allegations, you have done the same publicly.

I received numerous messages of concerns:

Jo @Planet_Wblower · Aug 10

@sharmilaxx We all saw him batter you, and were more than a little alarmed. THIS is what supporting wbs who have lost everything looks like?

This message was retweeted by several whistleblowers (in agreement)


Fiona Bell @Unity_portal · Aug 10

@drkimholt @sharmilaxx @NitramNotrom @Planet_Wblower I saw the tweets has did many others . hence the need for the apology.

This was again retweeted by several e.g.


Aug 10:

@drkimholt @sharmilaxx @NitramNotrom @Planet_Wblower I saw the tweets has did many others . hence the need for the apology.


Aug 10

@JFecitt @sharmilaxx @drkimholt @Planet_Wblower when your tweet as CQC employee, stick to the mandate, all this must be frighten for shamila


From direct messag (some of them):


‘know his account is closed. What a cowardly thing to do.’

‘I’m so sorry you do not deserve this.’

‘Saddened by cqc behaviour’

‘I glad your ok, if you ever need a chat you know where I am x’

‘have been worried about you. I feel really, really sick.’

‘He was RUDE, he was WRONG and he blew it. Simple.’

I am so sorry you’re still being challenged.’

‘called you a liar in front of everyone sayng you turned down a job (most ppl on your side).’

‘Hope you’re ok my loverly’


I also received numerous emails and text messages from other whistleblowers voicing their concerns and offering support.

Because you failed to publicly acknowledge you were wrong, tweets continued from others because they believed I had been offered a job and had refused, Here is a sample:


kim holt ‏@drkimholt  Aug 10

@Planet_Wblower @JFecitt @sharmilaxx she was offered a years work and that is a very positive step forward for whistleblower


kim holt ‏@drkimholt  Aug 10

@sharmilaxx @Planet_Wblower @JFecitt what upsets me is that massive efforts were made to try and identify a solution in good faith

Jennie Fecitt ‏@JFecitt  Aug 10

@sharmilaxx @drkimholt @Planet_Wblower I don’t think James was victimising you. Just trying 2 understand why u turned 12/12 job down (1)

Jennie Fecitt ‏@JFecitt  Aug 10

@sharmilaxx @drkimholt @Planet_Wblower & job got withdrawn (blacklisting) stuff. So trying understand mayb why turn 12/12 temp contract down

sharmila chowdhury ‏@sharmilaxx  Aug 10

@NitramNotrom @JFecitt @drkimholt @Planet_Wblower Thanks Martin. Has been a gruelling afternoon. Been left stressed with chest pains.


I was repeatedly having to justify myself. I even received messages via email. Eventually, I stopped responding as it got too much to bear.

In fact the last tweet on the subject stopped only yesterday – 3 days on. I feel battered and made to feel like a fraud. I also have continuing chest pains. With high blood pressure (due to ongoing treatment) this is not good.  All of this because you hadn’t bothered to check the facts before publicly interrogating me. You should have admitted ‘publicly’ that you were mistaken. Phone call apology was really not good enough.

You said that you are stressed and under pressure, but so are many of us. Sometimes it’s good to step back and look around you. Many need help and many are suffering.

So, in future when you feel things are bad for you, think again. If you are under pressure, ask for help. Maybe Sir David Prior is not aware that you need help.

I am on the whole fairly strong mentally, although physically not so good. Many whistleblowers on the other hand are vulnerable and not knowing their circumstances or what they may be personally having to endure can lead to a disastrous situation. Many are under severe pressure.

As an officer of CQC, to publicly interrogate a whistleblower sends out negative signals to others. Publicly bullying a whistleblower is not the best way forward. Many advised this was a smear campaign.

Please note that any further public backlash would be perceived as harassment, and I expect the situation to be resolved and addressed in a professional manner. Any further backlash could potentially cause me further distress with serious implications for health.


My main advice to you are:

  1. Check your information is accurate by speaking to the involved person and do this before you send any public messages. This applies to Ed Jones as well. I know that you are both close. I noted your tweets were copied into him. Maybe this has come about because of his comment that I had been offered a great job in the NHS.
  1. Don’t be ready to accept that a person is bad. Most people are good.
  1. Set out to help others, not harm them.
  1. If you are stressed and need help, ask for it.
  1. Apologising for mistakes shows strength, not weakness.
  1. Learn from this experience and move forward.


On a more positive note, many have missed you on twitter and many care what happens to you.

It could be that there is a struggle as to what job I can do. I now have a vast experience on whistleblowing. Maybe a post which promotes transparency for staff and patients would be ideal. Promoting easier and safer to raise concerns. Following the review, I am sure there will be plenty of recommendations that need to be implemented. I could help with that.

Although this is not a public inquiry, I fully support Sir Francis and his team. I can see their commitment to the review.

Too many lives have now been destroyed and we need to find a way of putting this right.


With best wishes