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Whistleblower’s book highlights risks of short staffing

  • 2 Comments

A surgeon, who blew the whistle about dangerous staffing levels at his hospital, has now written a book that he says he hopes will help give nurses the confidence to speak out about similar concerns.

In 2002 Milton Peña began raising concerns regarding patient safety, internally at Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester, but when his concerns went ignored he became a whistleblower in 2005.

“Without sufficient nurses the outcome for many patients will remain poor”

Milton Peña

Since then the consultant orthopaedic surgeon has campaigned for more funding and, in particular, for legislation on nurse to patient ratios.

Mr Milton, who retired in October 2014, has especially warned that staff shortages risk vital post-operative observations not taking place.

He said his main aim in publishing the book – titled The flight of the black necked swans – was to empower nurses with the facts, to enable them to challenge poor and unsafe practice.

Tameside Hospital

Whistleblower’s book highlights risks of short staffing

Milton Peña Vásquez

As examples, it includes the letters he wrote to the then chief executive of his trust, the Care Quality Commission, NHS England and the health secretary.

He said: “I feel there is a need for the public to know that what happened at Tameside continues to happen and could well be replicated elsewhere at other hospitals.

“The Francis report, which recommended a series of measures after an investigation into high mortality rates and poor patient care in Mid Staffordshire, seems to have been written off as too expensive,” he said.

“But we spend less per capita on healthcare than many countries, including the United States, and without sufficient nurses (and junior doctors) the outcome for many patients will remain poor,” he added.

The flight of the black necked swans

Whistleblower’s book highlights risks of short staffing

Mr Peña came to the UK as a refugee from Chile more than 40 years ago.

The book also explores his experience of events during the coup d’état there, suffering torture and fleeing from General Pinochet’s fascist regime in 1974.

  • The flight of the black necked swans by Milton Peña Vásquez is published by UK Book Publishing and is available as a softback book through Amazon and other online retailers.

 

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Sounds great and whilst I don't critique on what I haven't read your one problem is rationalality doesn't matter to some people up the top. But then nobody will be left soon anyway, so they'll just walk off with a big stack of money causing everyone else problems. Let's hope a good labour gov. Will bring corrupt senior and ex senior management to book and put them behind bars where they belong.

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  • I think that the previous comment needs to include in the sentence about corrupt senior and ex senior management also the RCN - its council and regional officers. They are all propping up a failing NHS and will do nothing about professional practice - only salaries and hours.

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