Whistleblowing Petition for the Scottish Assembly – Speak out and support please..

Peter Gregson in Scotland has a Whistleblowing Petition for the Scottish Assembly with only 130 signatures on it. Peter deserves a “gong”, and not those who fail to speak out in order to get theirs! We need the same for the English, Welsh and N Ireland assemblies, and for Manchester..

NHSPetitionFlyer

Apathy may rule but do contact him and add your support. Below is his e-mail to me…

Hi Everybody, 

Just a wee update- because of the NHS Whistleblowing petition you signed, I was invited to the inaugural International Whistleblower awards in London, where I met Dr Raj Mattu of Warwickshire, who was the recipient of the 2016 Blueprint UK Whistleblowing Prize.  

Cardiologist and former employee of the Warwickshire NHS Trust, Dr Mattu was dismissed by the Trust in 2010 following a 9-year campaign of professional vilification. He had found and reported that patients were dying due to poor post-operative care. See his story here: www.blueprintprize.org/uk-winner/   

I edited the film of the event, which I uploaded onto you-tube- see the Doctor’s interview 20 minutes in at https://youtu.be/zfYJepSTRuk; it lasts 15 minutes. He has been through quite a journey and is currently without work. 

I am thinking of asking him to attend and give evidence to the Scottish Parliament when my petition is called. I also wanted to ask the Queen’s Surgeon from Aberdeen, who was recently bullied out of his job, but he says his case is sub-judice on account of the Employment Tribunal he is pursuing for constructive dismissal, so he cannot speak. More about him on my website. 

I should mention that your name will be on the parliamentary website from Tuesday at www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/WhistleblowerHotlineNHS  (if it is not already there). 

I was hoping there might be more signatures on the petition, we have about 130. I was funded by Unite NHS Lothian by £500 which purchased 50,000 of the attached flyers, which I have taken around many hospitals in Scotland. I have distributed – along with help from some of you- 35,000. This netted me around 50 signatures. I was concerned at the poor rate of return and set up an online survey at  www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LC2VLPY  to try and ascertain why. Feedback from the few NHS staff that signed was that the flyers had served their purpose, in that they had alerted many staff that the hotline proposal was there – evidently the subject had been discussed in the workplace. However, most respondents stated that NHS staff were not signing because they did not want their names publicly displayed and were fearful of the impact that it might have on their careers. 

This was no surprise to me- I found the same when I campaigned for the whistleblower hotline at Edinburgh Council. Staff there were not willing to sign the Petition to their own Council Petitions Committee; of the 550 signatures I was able to get in order for the petition to be heard, only a handful were Council staff. (see it here) Then, as now, those calling most loudly for a hotline are those who might use the services (rather than those who might deliver them!). 

If you want to add a written submission to my petition, it can be posted on the Parliamentary website at any time. The Petitions Committee appreciates a range of views on the topic in hand, and supportive statements are welcome. Should you want to add a submission, let me know and will send you details of whom to send it to. There is one there, at present, from Accountability Scotland. 

The reason the Australian Blueprint team were in London was due to the invitation of the UK Government for them to give their report on the UK Whistleblowing legislation. The team, based at Melbourne University, reviewed the effectiveness of the 1998 PIDA Act and their report can be downloaded here. It accurately outlines how little recompense one might expect from a Tribunal following dismissal for whistleblowing. As I know only too well- as you might surmise, when you read the article about me in the Sunday Times today 

Which is related to my next request. Can I ask again that you consider whether you might sign the petition I am working on calling for the release of Chelsea Manning. Chelsea got the “Hall of Fame” award on Monday night in London. She grew up in West Wales as “Bradley”; her best friend was there and accepted the award on her behalf. I spoke with him and the petition seeking her release is aimed at President-in-the-wings, Hillary Clinton; we will deliver the first tranche of names to the US Consul in Edinburgh on Saturday. If you want to add yours, go to www.change.org/p/hillary-clinton-get-us-army-whistleblower-chelsea-manning-out-of-jail 

I shall next write to you when I have a date for the Parliamentary NHS petition to be heard, most likely in in August. In the meantime, I shall post updates and news coverage on the NHS Whistleblowing petition at www.kidsnotsuits.com/nhs-staff-whistleblower-hotline-parliamentary-petition/ 

If you know of tales that I could take to the Petitions Committee, please get in touch. A man called John Nolan posted on the Parliamentary website that his wife worked at the NHS and would happily recount her concerns, but I have no way of tracking Mr Nolan down. If you know of him, please let me know. 

I have explained to my NHS bosses that I am undertaking the work on this petition in my own time, and have faced no questioning. I offered a presentation to the Lothian NHS Health Board, the 24 directors who are responsible for the health of almost 1 million people, but they declined my offer. 

I also sought to secure the support of the trade unions. Although Unite NHS Lothian Branch support the scheme, it seems that Unite Head office oppose it (they tried to stop the branch cheque and threatened to sue me for having the word Unite on the flyers). Unison Lothian NHS Branch have prevented me discussing the matter and from even distributing the flyers at a branch meeting. I am a Unison shop steward, so I have lodged a complaint about this, since I have been prevented discussing it with other trade unions since I first requested to in February, A very odd turn of affairs, I feel, given that I thought trade unionist might support a hotline to make staff jobs safer, but I suspect there are machinations behind the scenes. 

I also sought the support of the Royal College of Nursing. Their director, Norman Provan, is chair of SWAG and is firmly in favour of his whistleblowing champion scheme. He declined to allow RCN to support the petition, but I think he will have to give strong reasons to the membership when the petition gets to Parliament. At that time, you see, there will be media coverage and many more nurses may seek to have their views aired. I also sought the support of the BMA in Scotland. They have never replied to any e-mails. I approached all 13 Local Health Councils too- they are meant to represent the interests of patients. They also did not respond to my e-mails. 

I am used to being ignored, it is par for the course. I am sure they feel that by ignoring the whistleblowing issue, it will fade and die. I hope, with your help, that we might confound these hopes of theirs. In a few months’ time, I would like to ask of you that pen a letter to the press in support of the hotline. When Parliament gives me a date for the Petition to be heard, your assistance would be hugely appreciated in convincing the media that the hotline can only serve to improve the efficiency of the health service and improve the safety of those who use it, whether they be staff- or patients 

Thanks and best wishes

 

Pete Gregson

More at: www.kidsnotsuits.com/nhs-staff-whistleblower-hotline-parliamentary-petition and for how the battle for Edinburgh Council’s hotline was fought and won, see www.kidsnotsuits.com/campaigns/independent-whistleblowing-hotline-petition and  www.kidsnotsuits.com/campaigns/tell-your-councillor-we-need-a-safe-hotline

 

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Gagging, Perverse Incentives, Professionals on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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