“Coincidence is God’s way of being anonymous.” ― Laura Pedersen, in Best Bet
A second NHS whistleblowing tsar has abruptly quit the national body responsible for protecting employees who speak out about problems in the health service.
David Bell, the interim national guardian, took charge at Britain’s first office to support NHS whistleblowers when Dame Eileen Sills abandoned the role within two months of being appointed and before she had actually started in the job.
Mr Bell has now returned to his former NHS job after six weeks in the post, despite the vacancy left by Dame Eileen remaining unfilled.
The body, which was set up after the Mid Staffordshire scandal, was highlighted by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, as evidence of his commitment to protecting NHS whistleblowers.
Campaigners have warned that the Office of the National Guardian, which was due to open last week, is facing a “crisis”. The Care Quality Commission, the health watchdog involved in setting up the national office, declined to comment on the circumstances of Mr Bell’s departure but said that a team supported by Sir Robert Francis, who chaired the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, was in place to ensure it could begin operating later this month.