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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)

  • 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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