By Dr Minh Alexander, NHS whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist, 18 August 2018
The NHS National Guardian previously collected only feedback from whistleblowers who had been accepted for review by her Office, which was highly likely to skew results in its favour.
On 11 August the National Guardian’s Office circulated a feedback survey which for a change was also sent to some whistleblowers whom it had previously turned down for case review.
Strangely, the window for submitting evidence was very narrow. Only five working days was given:
One whistleblower who had asked the National Guardian for protection, but was turned down for case review and was subsequently sacked, gave this feedback on 17 August 2018:
“I address this section of my feedback to Dr Henrietta Hughes.
I asked you for help before I was sacked.
You and your office repeatedly declined to help.
I was sacked.
I asked you to help before the appeal against dismissal confirmed my sacking.
You and your office declined to help.
I complained about the handling of my case and the failure to treat me fairly or in line with the original recommendations of the Freedom To Speak Up Review.
NHS Improvement and Robert Francis dealt with my complaint but they would not find against you. I think they should not be in the position of investigating or adjudicating because they are not neutral parties. I do not understand how you can purportedly be held to account by NHSI and CQC and at the same time hold them to account yourself. That is a structural recipe for unfairness and bias, if not collusion.
I later discovered that your Office has handled other cases differently and I complained about the inconsistency.
As far as I am aware, my second complaint disappeared into a black hole of unaccountability.
I asked your Office a second time to review my case, on the grounds that all processes had concluded and that your Office could no longer cite this as one of the reasons for not helping.
Your Office responded by insisting that I re-submit the whole thing on a form of its choosing.
I have no energy left, finding myself in late middle age without a job, having lost my family and children, and soon to lose my home also.
The lack of humanity with which I have been treated has been appalling. I must question if you and your team have a real understanding of the human consequences of your actions and omissions, and the despair they cause.
Please spend some time thinking seriously about the health impact of your actions before claiming any further successes or spending any more public money on PR. The sight of it is very distressing to whistleblowers who know the real truth.”
To add insult to injury, this whistleblower has participated in NHS Improvement’s NHS whistleblower employment support scheme since it began to be developed in March 2017. Despite being accepted for the pilot in January 2018 the whistleblower has not even been offered so much as a trial work placement.
Far from the ‘apology and redress’ dangled over three years ago by the parliamentary select committee that (with the honourable exception of individual members) has since proved itself inexplicably disinterested, the Department of Health and Social Care et al seem bent only on inflicting on more cruel and unusual punishment on outcast whistleblowers.