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."

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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.