Jim Reaper’s been skipping across the north lands, hand in hand with his chum the hugely popular Secretary of State for Ill Health.
Reports from an NHS Disinvestment board meeting on 29 September 2016 suggest that Jim is perhaps sensitive about gags at his former trust:
So here’s the full FOI disclosure of 15 February 2016 about secrecy and non-disparagement clauses at ‘Outstanding’ Northumbria, so you can make up your own mind: northumbria-compromise-agreements-foi-disclosure-15-02-2016
As you can see, 45 members of staff were silenced with secrecy clauses that stopped them from even disclosing the existence of the compromise agreements that they had signed:
Here’s what Sir Peter Bottomley said in parliament on 18 May 2016 about such secrecy clauses in NHS compromise agreements:
“I am waiting for the result of an Manchester employment tribunal case involving Mr Aditya Agrawal. I shall make no further comment, because we have not yet seen the result, but when it comes out, I hope to ask Mr Speaker whether we can have a debate on why the hospital trust had had over 100 confidentiality agreements over the last five years—and a compromise agreement that is a secret as well. This is the sort of pattern that we should not have in our national health service.”
Here’s what Sir Robert Francis said in the report of the Freedom To Speak Up Review on 11 February 2015 about secrecy clauses:
“… I have seen some [compromise agreements] which seem unnecessarily draconian or restrictive, for example, banning signatories from disclosing the existence of a settlement agreement.”
By the way, despite CQC’s spinning ways, a glance at PHSO data showed that Northumbria is not compellingly ‘Outanding’ in terms of complaints: phso-foi-disclosure-complaints-against-northumbria-fdn259244-your-information-request
Northumbria’s rate of enquiries to PHSO that were accepted per 100,000 clinical incidents in 2014/2015 was 6.96. The range for acute trusts was 1.32 to 17.
But mum’s the word. Shhhhhh.
Items to cross-reference
NHS Gagging. How CQC sits on its hands: despite misleading claims by CQC, review of almost 200 current CQC inspection reports reveals no evidence that CQC has inspected trusts’ compromise agreements.
Letter to House of Commons Health Committee 23 September 2016 about CQC’s failure to deter the inappropriate use of compromise agreements in the NHS: