Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust chair leaves: Her successor calls for a review of the handling of the Chris Day case

Val Davison, former chair of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

The twists and turns in the Dr Chris Day patient safety whistleblowing case against Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust are continuing even before the judge Anne Martin delivers her verdict later this year.

At a public trust board meeting yesterday local campaigners led by a local GP turned up to protest and demand action about the revelations revealed at the 16 day tribunal which included the destruction of 90,000 emails at the trust affecting his case and the revelation that the trust had lied to a judge about the record of notes of a Sunday telephone board meeting four years ago which approved the controversial settlement of Dr Day’s whistleblowing case.

Dr Day has had an eight years battle with the trust after he made protected disclosures on patient safety and inadequate staffing at the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich which is run by the trust.

And even now new documents are coming to light as a result of the hearing showing the secret support given to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust by senior officials at NHS England.

The public board meeting was chaired by Mike Bell, who is also chair of the Croydon NHS Trust, who evidently had been appointed on July 6 – midway through the Chris Day tribunal hearing – according to a press release from Croydon NHS Trust which disclosed he had taken over on July 25 – the day before the board met. He is remaining the chair of Croydon NHS Trust for the moment.

Mike Bell, new chair of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust while remaining chair of Croydon NHS Trust Pic credit: Business in the Community

Dr Bob Gill, a local GP, addressed the board, seeking an explanation of all the revelations that had come out at the tribunal hearing. Members of the board did not react to the catalogue of failures to provide information to the tribunal or the mass destruction of emails by David Cocke, the communications director, who failed to give evidence at the hearing.

Here is Dr Bob Gill at the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust putting the case for action following the scandalous disclosures at the Dr Chris Day tribunal hearing

Mr Bell said he had written to NHS England requesting a review of the Dr Chris Day case which he promised would be published. This could be embarrassing for NHS England – since Claire McLaughlan who conducted the review into Dr Day’s protected disclosures and covered up the patient safety issue that led to two deaths at the hospital – is Chair for NHS England’s Performers List Decision making panels( they decide the internal inquiries for trusts.

See my profile of her here

The GP had the backing of local groups, Reclaim the NHS (Previously Keep Our NHS Public – Greenwich)
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Patient Forum, and Your NHS Needs You.

In a letter to the trust which quotes extensively from blogs on this site and from an article in Computer Weekly by journalist Tommy Greene the groups ask the following questions of the board:

  1. What steps will LGT take to investigate the serious issues outlined above [ which came out during the hearings]?
  2. Have either Ben Travis[ the chief executive] or David Cocke been suspended pending a full investigation into their actions in relation to the Day case?
  3. As requested by Sir Norman Lamb, will LGT[the trust]now undertake an independent public
    inquiry into its conduct of this case and the dangerous conditions – including avoidable deaths – in its ICU department during the period when Dr Day raised patient safety concerns?
  4. Has LGT informed the police about the potential criminal action taken by Mr Cocke?
  5. Has LGT informed the Information Commissioner’s Office about the destruction of Janet Lynch’s [former workforce and education director who was the lead figure in pursuing Dr day’s case] email account and the actions taken by Mr Cocke?
  6. What steps will LGT take to recover the evidence that has been destroyed? Any efforts must have public confidence and be independent.
  7. How can LGT rebuild public trust that it will not be party to such serious misconduct in the future?
  8. How will LGT avoid further expensive and destructive litigation against whistleblowers who raise serious patient safety concerns, and rebuild trust of medical staff silenced by the actions taken against Dr Day?

I put some questions to the trust along similar lines and asked for an explanation of the changeover of the chair.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “As legal proceedings are still ongoing, we are unable to provide a comment at this time.”

Steve Reed, former Executive Regional Managing Director (London) NHS England, recently in charge of the Covid and Flu vaccination programme

Meanwhile the latest tranche of documents have shown that another senior official – at NHS England, Steve Russell, then Executive Regional Managing Director (London), was directly involved in backing the trust to put a press statement on Dr Day in 2018 which former health minister Sir Norman Lamb described to the tribunal as ” inaccurate, damaging and defamatory” .

In one email he said he was ” happy to support you on this” adding “If you can give us an hour or two to socialise nationally that will be very helpful.”

Steve Russell went on to become chief executive of Harrogate Hospital Foundation Trust and then was seconded to NHS England to run the Covid and flu vaccine programme.

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10 thoughts on “Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust chair leaves: Her successor calls for a review of the handling of the Chris Day case

  1. An investigation needs to happen as to who these people are who lurk in NHS Trusts etc in positions of Power over patients, Doctors and other staff. What are their values? Does anyone know anything about them? Who are the Common Purpose graduates? This time they got caught. It seems to be they usually dont, because no one takes them on for 8 gruelling years, like Dr Day.


  2. I am reminded of the comments of Dr. Bill Kirkup in his report on the the life and death of Elizabeth Dixon.

    “The most troubling aspect of compiling this report has been the clear evidence that some individuals have been persistently dishonest, both by omission and commission, and that this extended to formal statements to police and regulatory bodies. Co-operating with n investigation into a public service is not optional for those involved and professionally registered doctors and nurses are under a duty to do so. Dereliction of this duty, without even the offer of an excuse is seriously detrimental to the conduct of investigations, and contrary to the requirement for candour and transparency”.

    This statement can also be extended to NHS executives. Thank you for keeping us updated David. I do hope the Chris Day case will become a wake up call for NHS executives and politicians alike and the public outcry is such that they are forced to change the culture of cover up and denial.

    (see also: The Cumberlege report which highlighted a ‘disjointed, soloed, unresponsive and defensive culture’ and the Ockenden report into Shrewsbury and Telford maternity services ‘there must be an end to investigations, reviews and reports that do not lead to meaningful change’).


      • The link here describes from the patient’s point of view what happened when a patient puts in a complaint and the lengths the authorities- the trust, the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s office, the courts and other regulatory authorities went to – not to handle it correctly.


      • It gets far worse than that! I can’t even get access to the courts the ombudsman or anybody else….I’ve long suspected that something was made up to manipulate so called police as well, but I have absolutely no idea what. It seems everybody has been instructed to ignore me…and things have been made up. Far more extreme example is the case of Melanie Shaw…nearly a decade and a half in prison, being tortured effectively…for allegedly burning down a neighbour’s shed? No jury involved, no evidence that neighbour even owned a shed as far as I can tell…

        It so easy to manipulate these morons…I mean how many times do people go to Columbia every year, mail a kilo of cocaine to their victim…who is promptly then gaoled for a decade or more! That’s more of an extreme example if you really want to get somebody, granted…..

        The author of the above can certainly write better than I can, certainly better as at the time I wrote that I was still massively under the influence. Suspect she also has some legal training herself, but I can’t even get access to the Court rules never mind anything else! I can’t even get a name of any of the judges, never mind anybody else! That is the extent of the cover up!

        I do worry what is about to happen next to her to shut her up…. 😦 There are far worse things than dying. But still a terrifying read so far….

        I know the ‘police’ were lying about being unable to identity the malicious poster…just a few months ago i was being threatened and harassed by them. I use Tor, did not give away any identifiable information and they still managed to trace me to this physical address.

        Homeless and destitute coming up 17 years now, they’ve also edited and manipulated the online version of a small part of what has been done to me…

        It really is so common to destroy individuals like this, I’ve collected many stories over the years from many victims, but no support available other than each other and none of us have the power to actually do anything. I think people like Jean Charles de Menenzes are the lucky ones.


        Liked by 1 person

  3. No wonder the NHS is short of cash. They could have just spent 30 mins listening to Dr Day and fixing what he was talking about. Next time they are banging on about funding for mental health issues they want to think about the mental health of some of their whistleblowing victims.


  4. The climate of dishonesty, distrust and lack of integrity among our institutions has been going on for too long. There are too many stories of suppression of dissent by large and powerful organizations against lay minnows but these stories are not given the exposure they deserve and nothing ever changes. The link below describes, from the patient’s point of view, what happened when a patient put in an NHS complaint and the lengths the authorities- the trust, the Health Ombudsman, the courts and other regulatory authorities – went to to cover it up and not to handle it correctly:


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