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Major London trust announces investigation after nurse suicide


A major London acute trust has announced an independent investigation into staff disciplinary process, following the suicide of a nurse.

Amin Abdullah, who previously worked at Charing Cross Hospital, died after setting himself on fire in February 2016.

He had been experiencing mental health issues following a delayed disciplinary process and dismissal from his job with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

In May this year, the Department of Health and NHS Improvement instructed the trust to conduct an independent investigation into its management of the disciplinary policies and procedures that led to Mr Abdullah’s dismissal.

Imperial announced this week that it had now commissioned independent consultancy Verita to carry out the investigation and review the disciplinary process that resulted in the dismissal of Mr Abdullah.

The trust noted that the work had been commissioned “in consultation” with NHS Improvement, the DH and Mr Abdullah’s representatives, and followed the conclusion of the coroner’s inquest.

“Any learning captured will be made available to the NHS, as a whole”

Terms of reference

In a statement, it said: “The trust was deeply shocked and saddened by Mr Abdullah’s death.

“Conclusions and recommendations from the investigation will be published so that any lessons learned can be applied across the NHS,” said the trust statement.

“The investigation is expected to be completed and published by early 2018,” it added.

Mr Abdullah, an award winning clinician, was suspended in September 2015 after he organised a petition and a letter of support for a colleague following a complaint by a patient.

An inquest into his death heard delays in the disciplinary process caused him anxiety. He was dismissed in December 2015 and a month later voluntarily admitted himself to St Charles Mental Health Unit in London.

On 8 February, he left the unit unescorted and set himself on fire in the grounds of Kensington Palace. The coroner said Mr Abdullah “killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed”.

The trust has also made public the terms of reference for the investigation, which has five key themes.

  • Determine whether the process followed in dealing with Mr Abdullah’s case was fair and whether it was conducted in line with the trust disciplinary policy
  • Consider whether the letter that Mr Abdullah had written should have been treated as a case of whistleblowing in line with the trust procedure for raising concerns
  • Review the handling of the grievance raised by Mr Abdullah on 1 December 2015
  • Assess the extent to which the trust’s disciplinary policies and procedures align with the following ACAS guidance documents
  • Identify whether there are any further learning opportunities for the trust

In the terms of reference document, the trust stated: “The aim of the independent investigation is to establish firstly, whether there was any failure or weakness in the process and governance regarding the disciplinary procedure and what action was taken as a result and secondly if there is any learning for the trust and the wider NHS and what that learning might be.

“Any learning captured will be made available to the NHS, as a whole, via NHS Improvement and other national bodies as appropriate,” it added.


Readers' comments (11)

  • This is so sad.

    It sounds like another case of NHS bullying and cover up when it suits.

    I hope they genuinely get to the bottom of this case and if necessary any culprits are named and shamed.

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  • "he organised a petition and a letter of support for a colleague following a complaint by a patient". Now can anybody tell me why is this considered to be a disciplinary offence so bad that he was dismissed. He was supporting a member of staff what is wrong with supporting your colleagues??? Bullying, bullying and more bullying. Lack of support for this guy. As far as I am concerned his own work colleagues let him down because they were not supportive towards him! Sad sad sad.

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  • the NHS is full of bullying malicious malevolent managers supported by the equally disgusting NMC. No amount of fine words claiming learning from this event can whitewash the above basic fact. Everyone involved in the destruction of this fine man should be sacked, like he was. I am ashamed to be a nurse and am disgusted with NHS management and NMC barristers. But hey , as long as they can cram their wallets full of our cash who cares.

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  • Everyone involved in this mans death should resign, but, they are all a bunch of bullying malicious gutless creeps so I expect they will find a scapegoat

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  • Disciplinary process not fit for purpose.
    What did he do that should cost him his job!!! and ultimately cause him to take his life

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  • This is a very heartbreaking story, my condolences to Mr Abdullah's family and friends. Like the comments above, I can't understand why he was disiplined, in this severe way, by supporting a colleague.

    I hope that they get to the bottom of this; it is now a time for change.

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  • OK send most NHS managers and NMC personell to North Korea. I am sure they will serve the regime well.

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  • 1.So , a patient makes a false complaint that leads to a fine mans death. Consequences to her, nothing.
    2. A bunch of nasty worthless(expletives deleted) scum managers and the(expletives deleted) NMC drive a fine man to suicide. Consequences to them, nothing.
    3. A fine man supports a colleague due to the above false complaint. Consequence , death sentence.
    Yes , sums up the position nurses are in nicely.

    In reference to the above North Korean idea , Kim Jong-un would send them all back as being too vicious.

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  • I worked in health care in the prison service (NHS & HMP)....I know of two individuals who took their own life because of bullying by managers. was like the Tudor never knew who's head would be on a spike....and some individuals were basically given the death the comment above they would have been too vicious for North Korea...
    All that was done with said managers was a move sideways.

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  • Believe me there is nothing new to this case. Right now I myself, going through a nightmare. After 6 years in one trusthing., my nursing career, with NO complaint from no one/ patient, raletives, colleagues, managers... but in one night 3x nurses colleagues (organised) made complaint against me with completly an existed allegations. Apparently one of them didn't liked me and she " wanted me to get out off the department". The manager didn't supported /listen to me as they didn't like who. Especially when it comes to patients care & reporting incident. I alway stand for the truth and stand by it. I have no support frome no one. The people who know the truth can't comeforward, because they are scared. How can you prove this. I can't tell you how many times I have thought to resign. But I dippply love my job. The stress I am going through is an imaginable. It has been more then 2 year since they opened the investigation, everytime I ask, different reasons is given to me. Finally I got answer " will be..." they are talking about 2nd steps when i dont even know the outcome of frist investigations. For this probably another year. My life is completely missed up. How this can be justified??? I really understand why he took the action he took. The mental state issue of Mr Abdullah is just scus for their action.

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