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Inquiry into trust’s handling of whistleblower complete

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An investigation commissioned by the NHS Trust Development Authority into the handling of whistleblowing concerns at a West Midlands hospital trust is understood to have been completed.

Consultancy firm Verita was asked by the TDA to carry out the probe into alleged poor treatment of a whistleblower at the Royal Wolverhampton Trust last year.

The independent inquiry looked at how the trust responded to a whistleblower’s concerns

The investigation is believed to have been looking into how trust chief executive David Loughton and the organisation responded to concerns raised by its head of clinical coding and data quality, Sandra Haynes-Kirkbright.

She has claimed she was asked to cover up higher than expected mortality rates.

The inquiry was completed by Verita and passed to the TDA several months ago, according to Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal. It is understood the document is undergoing necessary legal checks before publication.

In 2013 Ms Haynes-Kirkbright publicly claimed she had been employed by Royal Wolverhampton to “fiddle” their mortality statistics, which in 2011-12 were among the highest in the country.

She told the Daily Mail that “every rule in the book” was broken to try to improve the trust’s mortality rates, and she was suspended from her post after refusing to take part in the alleged “cover up”.

The trust suspended her in 2012 after allegations were made against her by 19 colleagues accusing her of bullying, harassment, persistent swearing and unprofessional behaviour.

A TDA spokeswoman said: “We commissioned Verita to investigate the handling of the whistleblowing concerns around mortality data raised by an employee of the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital Trust.

“We are committed to publishing details of the key findings and actions from this review.”

The trust said it would await the final report before commenting.

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