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Sacked whistleblower reveals her identity


A whistleblower nurse, who says she spoke out in the interest of patients, has revealed her identity.

Alyson O’Connell, 51, told the Gwent Gazette she had decided to identify herself to encourage others to come forward.

Ms O’Connell was dismissed from her job with the Rapid Response Team in Blaenau Gwent, Wales, last year after raising concerns over the alleged denial of long term oxygen therapy to smokers and intravenous medication being stored incorrectly.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Before making a comment we need to know what the reason was for this persons dismissal?

    Dismissing someone just for complaining about poor service would in my view constitute unfair dismissal.

    I would always support the right of nurses to raise such concerns, however there are hidden dangers associated with doing this, especially when they act on an individual basis.

    It has always been my view that where there are concerns about standards of care, that in the first instance, nurses should take advice from their trade union representatives.

    Working through their trade union gives them some added protection as their identity can be witheld, especially if there is the risk that their managers could react in a vindictive manner.

    In the event that they do not belong to a trade union, then they would be wise to seek advice from the NMC in the first instance and then take their concerns to their local MP where they can again ask for their identity to be witheld.

    Having dealt with a recent case of whistleblowing, l well understand the concerns that individuals may have about repercussions when they do disclose their concerns.

    Even when people have whistleblown and taken their concerns to an appropriate authority, the organisation concerned was more concerned about identifying the person, than they were about dealing with the legitimate concerns that were raised.

    It seems to me that some employers are not happy that staff will go off to the press, perhaps they should think carefully about why it is that employees do not have any confidence in the whistleblowing policies that generally exist.

    I would always advise against using the media as a first option as it could be seen that this is used just to embarrass the employer.

    When the procedures that are available have been exhausted, and the person still feels that their concerns have not been adequately addressed, then going to the press may well be the only option open to someone.

    In Nursing l would always ensure that confidential information is not disclosed to anyone until l have taken account of the NMC Code and if necessary asked them for advice.

    Unless you work for a good employer, whistleblowing can be an extremely uncomfortable experience for those who have genuine concerns about nursing and health service delivery. If in doubt, speak to your MP, that is what they are there for.

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