NHS whistleblowing tsar role hits new delay after National Guardian quit before even starting work

Daily Mirror   8 MAR 2016    BY ANDREW GREGORY


Dame Eileen Sills was appointed to help staff expose poor treatment following the Stafford Hospital scandal – but resigned before starting work on April 1


dame eileen sills

Resigned: Dame Eileen Sills quit before she even started

The hunt for a new NHS whistleblowing tsar will not begin until after Easter – and the job may still be ­part-time.

Dame Eileen Sills was made National Guardian to help staff expose poor treatment following the Stafford Hospital scandal.

We revealed yesterday how she quit before her start date of April 1 because she could not juggle the part-time job and her main hospital role.

But now the Care Quality Commission has failed to rule out another part-time post, saying: “The role will be re-advertised after Easter.

“The specification has always allowed for ­flexibility… this included part-time and full employment options.”

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC said he was disappointed to receive Dame Eileen’s resignation but has insisted ‘the work of setting up the office of the National Guardian will continue as planned’.

Read more: New whistleblower tsar only working TWO DAYS a week but keeps £174k NHS job

The revelation is a huge blow for whistleblowers, who say they must be taken seriously so that patient safety is not put at risk.

Top NHS figures have called for a full-time appointment.

The role was created after a report into whistleblowing in the NHS, led by Sir Robert Francis QC, found there was a “serious problem”.

The new office of the National Guardian is scheduled to open on April 1 but the late advertising of the vacant top job means the office could start taking calls with nobody in charge.

Letter to George Osborne

3 August 2010

Rt Hon George Osborne MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer


Dear Mr Osborne,

Re:  Serious wastage of public money at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust

 I am enclosing the article which was published in the Independent 3 weeks ago. Further articles have now been published in the Ealing Gazette and in various other journals.

I have already paid a high price to ensure that wastage of public money is brought to an end.  My concerns have been reported to the key Directors within the Trust, which included: The Medical Director, The Clinical Director, The Finance Director, The HR Director, Assistant Director of Operations and The Chief Executive over the last 2 years. The matter had also been reported to NHS Counter fraud over a year ago. I have all written correspondences to support this.

To date no action or independent investigation has been taken within the Trust. All Directors continue to be in post, despite them being implicated in the fraud. The three consultants are also still in post. Meanwhile, I am facing my future with uncertainty by doing the job that I was employed to do as a budget holder for the department.

In October, Ealing Trust will be amalgamating with Brent and Harrow. So, the matter needs to be investigated as a matter of urgency.

I have done everything I can to bring about awareness of wastage within the Trust and have paid dearly in the process. However, all my attempts will have been futile if this matter is not taken seriously and investigated. Also, it means that in not too distant future, someone else will be facing same situation as myself, which is wholly unacceptable. The individual may not be as lucky as me in having a lawyer who has worked for free and have had barristers who have undertaken work at substantially reduced rates as they were appalled by what had happened to me.

I hope you will look into the serious situation within the Trust and if I may be of any assistance, then I would be more than happy to help.

Yours sincerely

Sharmila Chowdhury