The former head of an NHS trust which is being investigated over high mortality rates has spoken out over patient safety concerns - in defiance of a legal gag.
Gary Walker was sacked in 2010 as chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust for gross professional misconduct over alleged swearing at a meeting.
He claims he was forced to quit for refusing to meet Whitehall targets for non-emergency patients and was then gagged from speaking out as part of a settlement deal.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today:
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.
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