Ex NHS chief whistleblower

A former NHS chief has broken a gagging order to speak out against a "culture of fear" at the highest level in the health service.

Former health chief defies gagging order, full report

Sir David Nicholson, who was in charge of the NHS in the West Midlands during part of the Stafford hospital scandal, is under fire again over another Midlands hospital trust.

A former Chief Executive of hospitals in Lincolnshire says he warned Sir David Nicholson in 2009 that there were similar problems there. He claims he was then sacked after putting emergency cases before NHS targets.

He signed a gagging clause, but he's now breached that by speaking out.

Mark Gough reports.

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National

NHS found 'no evidence' to support Walker allegations

An NHS Commissioning Board spokesman told the Daily Mail:

In relation to Mr Walker’s specific comments, we know that he is unhappy about his personal case. Allegations made by Mr Walker regarding behaviour at the SHA have been independently investigated and found to be without merit. It is important to stress that allegations of this nature are taken extremely seriously. Following Mr Walker’s initial concerns raised in 2009 Sir David commissioned a rigorous independent review, following which it was concluded that no evidence whatsoever was found of bullying and harassment by the Trust or SHA.

Former Health Secretary says gagging culture is "corrupt"

The former Health Secretary and chair of the Commons helth select committee, Stephen Dorrell has said the culture of gagging whistleblowers in the NHS is "corrupt".

It comes as Gary Walker, a former NHS chief broke a gagging order to speak out against a "culture of fear" at the highest level in the health service.

Mr Walker was head of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust until 2010. He agreed to a gagging order as part of a pay settlement deal.

Mr Dorrell played down the prospect of Mr Walker being called to give evidence as he urged MPs to help him expose further details, saying he could not say more "without incurring a much bigger risk of being sued by the NHS".

He added: "I am still gagged. There's nearly 3,000 pages of evidence of which I have only been able to talk about a few. Those are the things I would like the health committee to expose," he said.

Stephen Dorrell, who said the committee had been in correspondence with Mr Walker since his dismissal, insisted it was "not the function of Parliament to ... adjudicate different disputes that arise between the health service and its employees".

"We can't hear every case. The priority needs to be to ensure that action is taken that corrects that culture."

Former health chief defies gagging order

Gary Walker
Gary Walker Credit: Lincolnshire Echo

A former NHS chief has broken a gagging order to speak out against a "culture of fear" at the highest level in the health service.

Gary Walker was head of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust until 2010. He agreed to a gagging order as part of a pay settlement deal.

This week the Trust was placed on a list of nine being investigated after they were found to have higher than average death rates.

Lincoln County Hospital
Outside Lincoln County Hospital Credit: ITV News Central

The Trust runs Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital and the Boston Pilgrim Hospital.

Mr Walker claims he was forced to quit for refusing to meet Whitehall targets for non-emergency patients.

He told the BBC:

"This is a culture of fear, a culture of oppression - of information that's either going to embarrass a civil servant or embarrass a minister.

"These are big problems. And if you consider that the people that have been running the NHS have created that culture of fear, they need either to be held to account or new people need to be brought in to change that culture."

East Midlands Strategic Health Authority has denied his claims.

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