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.
- DH orders independent investigation after nurse suicide
- Nursing charity to benefit from memory of Amin Abdullah
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.