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SPEAK OUT SAFELY ENDORSEMENT

David Drew: 'Nurses expect to suffer for speaking out'

  • 30 Comments

The culture in some NHS Trusts actively discourages nurses and doctors from exercising their professional responsibilities to their patients.

Staff have an expectation that either nothing will be done or they will suffer personal adverse consequences for speaking out. I support the NT SOS which I hope will result in an NHS safer for patients and fairer to nursing staff.

The NT SOS is an immensely practical response to the Francis report. It has arrived at a critical moment in NHS history. A culture has developed in which managerial power often dominates front line clinical staff and order is maintained by coercion and frank bullying. This must be redressed urgently. If not patients will continue to be at risk and staff disenchanted and demoralised. I wish NT well with its campaign.

The roles of doctors and nurses are mutually dependent. I supported nursing staff through extreme managerial bullying and  a botched redundancy programme in 2008/9. In 2010 despite my Trust describing me as an excellent clinician, a true leader and an effective manager I was dismissed for Gross Misconduct. It is not safe to tell NHS management when they get things seriously wrong.

I believe the NT SOS will inform and empower nurses to stand up and speak when managers lose sight of their responsibilities to patients.

As an NHS consultant I have seen the effects of managerial bullying on nursing staff. I reported this with evidence and witnesses to the highest level in my Trust in 2009. No action was taken against the managers. I was dismissed for Gross Misconduct.

This demonstrates the present skewed power balance between management and clinical staff. I believe this needs urgent redress and I hope that the NT SOS coming in the wake of the Francis report will help achieve this.

David Drew, NHS Whistleblower.

Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.

 

 

Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.

  • 30 Comments

Readers' comments (30)

  • Nurses should not expect to suffer at the hands of Neanderthal management. Only a political campaign aimed at clearing out anachronistic and possibly psychopathic management will rid the service of this bureaucratic cancer. Nurses and their representatives need to mobilise MPs in all constituencies to lend their weight to a massive purge. And massive it will be: all those culpable high level managers and directors who have allowed this situation to develop will have recruited in their own image.

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  • You are a hero David Drew.

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  • appalling that experienced and excellent clinicians are being lost to the profession and to their patients through gross management misconduct. it is far cheaper and briefer to train a manager than it is a clinician and they are two a penny, should be sacked for poor conduct and can be easily replaced. Lets hope to move forward to a better future with excellence in both patient care and staff support central to everybody's concerns.

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  • I applaud NTs efforts, but I am not holding my breath. It would take a huge and sustained effort to turn this bullying management culture around. The main perpetrators are not being weeded out. Rather they are being moved sideways or promoted. And as a result of the Francis Report.

    It is a start, but it will need more than a campaign from a not very widely read publication.

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  • tinkerbell

    David Drew you are a good, honest, ethical, moral person. You can't put a price on that.

    Not many of you's around but all the while we have a few good men and women all is not lost.

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  • tinkerbell | 16-Mar-2013 1:34 pm

    they are many but they are unnoticed as they are the ones who care about their patients and go quietly about their jobs without causing trouble.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 2:20 pm

    of course, i should have inserted i was referring to politicians.

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  • tinkerbell | 16-Mar-2013 3:27 pm

    Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 2:20 pm

    there are probably also some very good politicians. stop blaming everything on everybody else.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 5:31 pm

    There are some very incompetent and dangerous politicians and executives who wield too much power. Let's be clear here. Patients have died because of the bullying, target obsessed culture of the NHS and these people are very much to blame. The evidence exists. Read the Francis Report on Mid Staffs.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 2:20 pm

    Unfortunately, too many "go quietly about their jobs without causing trouble." Not speaking out about poor care and all the causes which lead to patients suffering and dying within the NHS, is actually very damaging. The government and NHS managers are definitely at fault, but so are those nurses who see danger and do nothing to prevent harm to their patients. Nothing to be proud of. More nurses need to 'cause trouble' and fight for their patients.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 7:27 pm

    there are good and bad everywhere but it is not a reason to pin the blame onto everyone. I think you will agree that it is the same with nurses of which there may also be some dangerous ones as you put it.

    Some people have had absolutely no involvement at all with Mid Staffs or any other appalling practice in the NHS or elsewhere.

    Lets hope that somebody is going to be good enough to wield their power to sort out this whole mess so that this sort of treatment is not allowed to continue.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 7:40 pm

    Read the Francis Report.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 7:40 pm
    from
    Anonymous | 16-Mar-2013 7:27 pm

    I'm not sure what your point is.

    If you read the Francis Report, you will find that it does not "...pin the blame onto everyone." He is actually very clear about where the blame lies and has made a multitude of recommendations about how this should be tackled. (I don't agree with some of the recommendations, and feel that others fall far short of what is required. But that's another discussion.)

    Of course, the vast majority of nurses are hard working, dedicated and caring. However, many of the cultural problems that occurred at Stafford Hospital, exist elsewhere and these must be dealt with. They must no longer be denied or played down.

    "Lets hope that somebody is going to be good enough to wield their power to sort out this whole mess so that this sort of treatment is not allowed to continue."

    Who might that somebody be? Vague wishful thinking simply isn't a solution. The experiences of David Drew and others like him are testament to the fact that those who "wield their power", too often do so abusively.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 1:17 am

    there is no harm in you repeating what has all been said before but my initial comment was just a general one in response to that of Tinkerbell.

    "Blame" must be focussed and apportioned where it belongs on those involved and found guilty and not wielded like an axe over everybody such as 'politicians', 'nurses', 'managers' etc. - far too vague and as I said there are some excellent and caring people in each of these groups as the above article suggests. :-)

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 7:32 am

    Nobody is wielding an 'axe over everybody'. Your own terminology is far too vague. But if you are trying to assert that politicians, nurses and managers are NOT to blame, then you are plainly wrong. These groups are at fault in significant enough numbers for all the other members to confront this fact and accept that it is their responsibility to change this culture. As I pointed out, Francis has "focused and apportioned blame where it belongs". Again, I would urge that you read the report. It is very clear that his findings and recommendations have implications for ALL nurses, politicians, managers, healthcare workers, patients and their families. Nurses have become resentful and defensive in the face of the bad press they have received at the hands of the media. Time to go on the offensive. This is an opportunity for this profession to demand the resources the staff and the framework to do their job safely and well. There can be no more excuses. What happens next will reflect the true attitude of this profession. Are we all going to fight to change this culture and achieve the best care for our patients? Or are we going to simply shrug our shoulders and say, "Don't blame me?" People like David Drew have been hung out to dry for long enough.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 10:07 am


    have it your own way then. blame hunt, cameron, lansley the nurses, the public the media, those who had nothing to do with the Staffs or the NHS and everyone you want and. good luck to you!

    and by the way people do have a right to make comments here in response to others - free speech and all that remember?

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 10:36 am

    the only problem is that everybody is connected to the NHS in some way even the poor vulnerable public.

    and for your information I have already familiarised the francis report and followed the debate in Parliament with DC so do not need your advice on may reading matter.

    I repeat my initial comment was addressed to Tinkerbell unless you are it commenting under more than one label!

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 10:07 am

    its all left wing and anti-conservative propaganda. no mention of the previous government when most of these problems took place.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 10:36 am
    Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 10:43 am
    Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 11:04 am

    As you state, this is a public forum and I am at a loss as to why you are becoming aggressive simply because someone else holds another view. Rather intolerant of you.

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  • Nice article David. The power imbalance is at the heart of the problem.

    Gordon Clifton | 14-Mar-2013 2:49 pm

    Mobilising the nurses of this country has been nigh on impossible. But there has never been such an opportunity to affect real change and I am fearful that this too will pass off with only a few ripples, and not the sea-change which is required. I agree that a political campaign is the solution.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 11:04 am

    In 1982, Margaret Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe unveiled plans to dismantle the Welfare State and bring an end to the NHS. These were outlined in a confidential cabinet memorandum by the Central Policy Review Staff in September 1982. The plans were discussed at a special half-day extended cabinet discussion on 9 September that year. This is fact.

    Successive Tory, Labour and ConDem governments have contributed to and created the existing problems with the NHS. I say this as someone of no political persuasion.

    However, it is part of the Conservative political ideology to rid this country of the NHS. Prior to his appointment as Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt stated publicly that he did not believe in the NHS. You are free to agree with that if you wish. However, many here do not. That does not make us left-wing, anti-conservative propagandists. I would speak out against anyone putting forward such ideology and couldn't care less about their political hue. So a little more respect please for the views of others.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 17-Mar-2013 10:43 am

    No only comment under this label.

    Regardless of which party was in power they have ALL contributed to make a complete mess of what was OUR NHS and to the point where it has cost many lives.

    Patients and nurses have been at the receiving end. To say no one is to blame is to deny the problem because unless we look at cause and effect we will never find the solution and yet the Francis report has come up with numerous recommendations which the current government appear to want to ignore, the biggest one being we need more staff not less and stop the culture of bullying management.

    There are good and bad in all walks of life regardless of whatever job they do in life, there are those who will speak up and those who won't. The few good men and women who do speak up are have their lives made a misery. By whom? Don't tell me there's no one to blame for that happening or the loss of life at Mid Staff or other hospitals across the country where these things are still happening because unless we get to the cause, the people who are doing it and unless we deal with these people, this will continue.

    It's no good burying our heads in the sand and hoping this problem will just go away all by itself and saying 'no one's to blame' what utter nonsense. Then we would be supporting all that's wrong rather than trying to find a solution.

    If a nurse reports bad practice that is detrimental to a patients well being that is not because they want to 'cause trouble' that is because they want to see things change for the better.

    There has never been a better time to whistle blow if you see bad practice because now we allegedly have the support of all concerned. The term 'whistle blower' has been turned into the word 'trouble maker' and this should never have been the case where good nurses and doctors have been trying to do what is right.

    If you get mugged in the street you wouldn't say no one is to blame would you?

    Thousand of people have died as a result of lies and dishonesty and keeping the public in the dark in a cover up.

    Lies hurt, honesty heals. Let's be honest and if nicholson goes to court for corporate manslaughter let's hope he sings like a canary and brings down the house of cards and all those minsters of health who brought about this disaster go down with him too so the message is loud and clear this must never happen again.

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  • tinkerbell

    there are 3 offences that are perfectly suited to cover the allegations relating to the ignoring of mortality figures, gagging and threats and intimidation against Whistle-Blowers:
    •Corporate Manslaughter
    •Misconduct in Public Office
    •Bribery and Corruption

    (from NHS complaint website).

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  • Unfortunately I am commenting anonymously as I have an Employment Tribunal case pending. I was subjected to the most prolonged and barbaric treatment following raising concerns about a child protection case. I was disciplined for Gross Misconduct and bringing the organisation into disrepute after 12 weeks. The management had carried out a witch-hunt. The disciplinary outcome was completely overturned, at appeal (following numerous requests to appeal being refused)The Appeal was six months after I was suspended. Management deny still that they did anything wrong, even in the light of the Francis Report and all the attention of the Jimmy Saville case. I not sure the Francis Report will really address the problems but support anything that can improve the situation for all staff. As with David Drew the Trust stated that they had no concerns with my professional practice, had never had a patient complaint or a complaint from another agency.

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  • Well done you for having the courage to pursue this. Good luck with the tribunal.

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  • Dear David

    You are an excellent clinician and always will be. I know this as you have seen family members of mine. You have also been my husbands work colleague for many years.
    Bullying still continues at the trust where you worked, I know this as my husband has and is still being bullied by management. I would stand and say this under oath and luckily we have the proof and its only a matter of time. I truly believe that goodness prevails and justice will be done. Please let good nurses and doctors get the power back into our hospitals and remember why we went into this profession at the beginning-for me and my working ethos its treat people like you would like to be treated yourself and look after the people as you would like yourself and your family to be treated.

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  • I am writing a play in which a Nurse named Alison speaks out against bullying, a botched operation and she almost gets destroyed as a result.

    I need to know:
    How do you speak out?
    Who do you contact?

    My wish is all this can be included in my play which lets the public see what actually happens when you speak out.

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  • NT good luck with this.....I was bullied for two years. Trust did nothing except side with and protect the bully.

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  • Anonymous | 5-Apr-2013 5:40 pm

    I am soo proud of you for staying a nurse and helping your patients. How did you manage to stay sane?

    Thank you coming out the other side.

    LOVE
    PDaveANGEL


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  • PDave Angel | 5-Apr-2013 10:11 pm

    for crying out loud!

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