NHS spend £2m gagging staff

Tory MP Steve Barclay has called for Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of NHS England, to stand down following revelations hospitals have spent £2 million on more than 50 gagging orders preventing staff from speaking out.

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NHS chief refutes 'erroneous and wrong' gagging claims

The head of the NHS in England has strongly denied staging a "cover-up" over the use of gagging orders to prevent staff speaking out about conditions in hospitals.

Outgoing NHS chief Sir David Nicholson before the Commons Public Accounts Committee Credit: PA/PA Wire

Appearing before the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Sir David Nicholson angrily denounced the claims made by Tory committee member Stephen Barclay as "erroneous and wrong".

Sir David - who is leaving after strong criticism over his role in the Mid Staffs NHS trust scandal - told the committee that he had always acted to support whistleblowers in the NHS.

"I can absolutely refute that I have ever been involved in any kind of cover-up in relation to the expenditure that's identified. I have been absolutely honest and truthful with this committee," he said.

He added: "I have always supported people who have stood out against the system. It is a very, very important part of being a health professional and being a leader in the NHS..."

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