Sir Norman Lamb blows the whistle on “deceitful” NHS attempts to discredit Dr Chris Day in tribunal hearing evidence

Sir Norman Lamb

Sir Norman Lamb, the former health minister, gave evidence on the first full day of the tribunal hearing between whistleblower junior doctor Chris Day and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. The tribunal is the latest hearing in a nine year battle between Dr Day and the trust over safety standards and staff shortages at the intensive care unit and accident and emergency unit at Woolwich Hospital in 2013-14.

Sir Norman, now chair of the neighbouring South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, had been summoned by Dr Day’s legal team to appear. His evidence which largely was not challenged by the trust revealed the various correspondence he had with both the trust and Dr Andrew Frankel, a former postgraduate dean at the now merged Health Education England.

Health Education England succeeded at an earlier tribunal hearing this year in removing themselves from the case after Dr Frankel admitted he had acted deceitfully without HEE’s knowledge in trying to change Sir Norman’s mind over Dr Day’s case. I wrote two blogs about this earlier this year. They are here and here.

Dr Chris Day

Sir Norman told the hearing he had probably had around 9 or 10 meetings with Dr Day since 2017. This included one with Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, others with Dr Frankel and Ben Travis, then chief executive of the trust.

At the meeting with Jeremy Hunt on 23 May 2018 “Dr Day set out details of his case and in particular the reality of the night time staffing at the relevant hospital’s lntensive Care Unit, the fact that it departed
significantly from national standards of safe levels of staffing, and that there were two deaths associated with the working conditions. The investigations at the time described clearly unacceptable staffing as acceptable.”

At the next one on 1 November 2018 came after Dr Day had settled the case after being threatened by the trust for costs and his legal team was also threatened for wasted costs. 

Sir Norman said: “I remember being very surprised that Chris had settled the claim before the end of the tribunal hearing given the fact that he had spent years working to get the chance to put his case to the tribunal. Chris told me that he had been faced by an impossible dilemma. He told me that he feared losing his family home if costs were ordered against him. He said he had consulted his wife on the decision, and they had agreed that as parents, he could not carry on. Chris told me that Mel, his wife, had urged him to settle “

“ln preparation for this hearing, I have seen an email dated 30 November 2018 from
Dr Day’s then Barrister, Mr Chris Milsom, to Dr Day. Mr Milsom confirms what he was told by the NHS’s barristers about the consequences of Dr Day continuing the case. Mr Milsom further states that ‘this was a “sophisticated discussion” that was in “no way invited by [Mr Milsom].” 1 can also see reference to wasted cost consequences directed against Dr Day’s former legal team by the NHS Counsel.”

This bit of evidence led to lengthy cross questioning by the trust’s barrister, Dan Tatton Brown, who tried to get Sir Norman to agree that Dr Day had settled because he felt he might lose the case and face costs which were not meant as a threat. Sir Norman disagreed.

Dr Andrew Frankel

Sir Norman’s later evidence shed even more light on the behaviour of Dr Frankel who arranged a meeting with him in 2019.. Evidently he claimed that an inquiry he set up into Dr Day’s allegations had said there was no suggestion any point (sic) that the panel had been briefed negatively about Dr Day.”

The report claimed wrongly “Dr Day had variously been described as ‘tenaciously going on and
on’ about it,’ gripped by angst’ and ‘shaking as he recalled events’ and ‘locked in.

One of the report panel members, Dr Madhurie Chakravarti-Chattopadhyay states in her statement to the Employment Tribunal for the 2018 hearing that:’ l did not feel that the report portrayed the situation as accurately from my perspective as I would have wanted.’
She states that she was: – ‘very surprised to find that various phrases in inverted comma ‘seemingly quoting me, when I could not recall saying fhose phrases”

.ln another statement to the Employment Tribunal, Dr Hans Sauer, who was Dr Day’s clinical supervisor at the time of the ARCP Panel meeting on 3d June 2014, stated of Dr Day; ‘He is a competent and confident trainee with a skill set which exceeds the expectations of someone of his level of training. He is aware of his limitation and not afraid to ask for help and advice.’

He states that ‘l find these allegations extremely surprising as during the whole period of my engagement with the Claimant I never noticed any basis for such allegations”.

Dr Frankel then accepted that Dr Day had raised serious and legitimate concerns about the respondent in his protected disclosures. Yet I have subsequently been informed that Dr Frankel had not stated any of this in his witness statement for the Employment Tribunal hearing in 2018″ and said his workload was acceptable.

Finally he met Mr Travis after the trust had put out a statement criticising Dr Day.

defamatory statements

Sir Norman wrote to Mr Travis saying;

” It is my belief that aspects of the Trust’s public statements (as referred to in Chris Day’s letter) are severely defamatory and should be withdrawn forthwith and that there should be a full apology. I should stress again that the inaccuracies in the public statements by the Trust are not only defamatory but are deeply distressing. They are damaging to Chris Day’s reputation.”

Mr Travis said he couldn’t comment after Dr Day won a case to bring a further hearing. The tribunal continues.

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Jeremy Hunt and Sir Norman Lamb back whistleblower doctor’s epic patient safety struggle at a tribunal from Monday

Official portrait of Jeremy Hunt. Pic credit: Parliament.uk

Trust wants to ban two expert anaesthetists from giving evidence for Dr Mark Day

An epic nine year struggle between junior doctor Chris Day and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust over patient safety at an intensive care unit and accident and emergency department comes to a head at 15 day employment tribunal on Monday.

The story began in August 2013 when Chris Day, a junior doctor initially complained about inadequate staffing. It got worse in January 2014 when he was working overnight in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich when two locum doctors failed to show up. He had to cover other wards and A&E and reported his concerns to managers. He saw this as putting patients in such a sensitive area at serious risk.

extraordinary convoluted story

What followed is an extraordinary convoluted story of denial of the problem by the trust, misleading statements, poor investigations, threats of a huge legal bill which led him at one stage to settle the case only for it to be re-opened at a hearing before another High Court judge. There is a detailed blog by Dr Moosa Qureshi on CygnusReports.org which goes into forensic detail of the twists and turns of his case so I won’t repeat all the detail. I recommend you read his account. The costs of the protracted legal action to the NHS trust now amount to little short of £1million

A recent blog on my site looked at one aspect of the case, illustrating what appear to be underhand methods by a former dean at Health Education England to persuade Sir Norman Lamb, then a Liberal Democrat MP, not to pursue Dr Day’s case. Health Education England disowned his action at an employment tribunal and succeeded at being taken off as a party to Monday’s proceedings.

The issue will not go away next week as unusually Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, will give a statement to the tribunal, as a witness for Chris Day.

Sir Norman Lamb

Sir Norman Lamb, also a former health minister, will appear as a witness for Dr Day at the hearing so people are likely to hear a lot more about what actually happened.

Two highly distinguished consultant anaesthetists were also scheduled to give evidence on behalf of Dr Day. They are Dr Sebastian Hormaeche and Dr Megan Smith .

Dr Chris Day

The trust will try during the proceedings to ban them giving evidence.

The case is likely to look at the role of lawyers and also the role of M J Roddis, a clinical management consultancy in this case. They were employed by the trust to investigate this case and Dr Day claims they misrepresented his evidence, played down the problems, and omitted some damaging information about patient care.

The tribunal hearing will not be available on line as the court has decided in advance it will be an ” in person” hearing – even though three of the first five days will be held during a national rail strike.

Nor is it likely to be officially recorded. But Chris Day, who is represented by lawyers paid by the British Medical Association, has engaged a Ministry of Justice approved note taking service so there will be a full transcript of the proceedings.

I put some points to the trust and asked them for any comments they might wish to make but officials did not respond.

UPDATE: Since this post was published the employment tribunal has done a U-turn and decided to hold the hearing online which means it will be more accessible to the press and public It will not be held at Croydon, south London as there was not a judge available to preside over the 15 day hearing.

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Backtracking and pussy footing: How a top judge reneged on plans to start nationwide recordings at tribunals

Employment Tribunal Open Justice Campaign

Judge Brian Doyle, former president of employment tribunals for England and Wales Pic credit: Salford University

New information has emerged showing how HM Court and Tribunal Service has backtracked and pussy footed over ending the scandalous failure to provide proper recordings and transcripts at employment tribunal hearings.

This failure led to a letter signed by over 320 people -including 80 NHS consultants and leading professors- demanding an explanation from Sir Keith Lindblom, senior president of the tribunals, on why this has not been done. There is widespread dissatisfaction among whistleblowers both in the NHS and industrial hearings about this.

Now minutes from a national tribunal user group have revealed that a plan to introduce the recording of tribunals across the country was dumped – despite resources being available – two years ago.

Judge Brian Doyle, the former president of Employment Tribunals for England and Wales, promised on February 27, 2019 to introduce the recording of tribunals, at a meeting of the group. The group is attended by senior judges, representatives of the TUC, ACAS the Law Society, the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy department and the Citizens Advice Bureaux

Roll out of recording facilities planned to be completed by March 2020

The minutes record: “The President addressed the need for audio-recording of ET hearings. Resources had been found to enable this to be achieved and both the Employment Tribunal and the First-tier Tribunal would benefit from the acquisition of recording equipment in hearing rooms. It was planned to be a gradual rollout from April 2019 to March 2020.”

He went on: “Testing of equipment would be required. A nationally agreed protocol would cover the practice of recording hearings and the provision of transcripts. If a party were to ask for a transcript, as in the courts it would be on the payment of a fee.”

“The President said that audio-recording would be welcome for a number of reasons: reducing the need for the judges to take verbatim notes; providing parties with a transcript of the hearing; improving the conduct of hearings generally; providing some discouragement for litigants or witnesses to misconduct themselves in hearings; and giving leadership judges the means to check complaints about how a judge allegedly behaved in a hearing (and thereby perhaps discouraging unmeritorious complaints).

By November 2019 the minutes recorded: “The President updated the members on the intention to provide audio-recording equipment in all Employment Tribunal hearing rooms. A budget for the equipment had been secured, but making this proposal operational was taking a little longer than intended because it was important to get the right recording equipment and to have in place a protocol for its use. “

Yet by March 2020 when the pandemic struck nothing appears to have been done -apart from a few trials. One of them at social security and child support hearings in Exeter had already been a success before February 2019.

Judge Barry Clarke, current president of employment tribunals for England and Wales

Now two years later under a new president Judge Barry Clarke there appears to be little progress – no protocol has been published let alone sent out for consultation. If there had been transcripts could have been provided in a number of highly controversial whistleblowers cases – notably the case between Alison McDermott and Sellafield and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; Usha Prasad and Epsom and St Helier University Health Trust and further cases involving the junior doctor Chris Day and the Health Education England.

Instead there appears to be a hostile attitude by some judges to any transparency in the tribunal system.

I would cite Judge Hughes as a good example. She ruled in a Birmingham employment tribunal case ( Mr R Kumar V MES Environmental Ltd.) The case involved racial discrimination and victimisation. He lost the case and applied for a transcript.

She ruled this was ILLEGAL. He was told by a court administrator:.

“Employment Judge Hughes has asked me to inform you that the reason you cannot apply for a transcript is because you are not legally entitled to make such an application. You are referred to the Employment Tribunals (Rules of Procedure Regulations) 2013. “

The judge doubled down the was “no legal mechanism by which an application for a transcript of Employment Tribunal proceedings can be made”. The judge stated that there was no prospect of her decision being varied or revoked “because there is no legal right to a transcript of Employment Tribunal proceedings”.

Judge Auerbach Pic Credit: Law Gazette

Two months ago this ruling went before Judge Simon Auerbach at an appeal tribunal. He revoked this saying that since in this case HMCTS had made a recording of the hearing Mr Kumar was entitled to apply for it and it was not illegal to do so.

Now judges are many things but they are not stupid. It seems extraordinary that Judge Hughes was not aware that discussions were going ahead at the time to introduce recordings and she must known in that case the hearing had been recorded. She obviously did not want him to have it.

Similarly anti recording attitudes seem to be propagated by Judge Tony Hyams-Parish in Dr Usha Prasad’s case ( see previous blogs) and by the Judge Lancaster in Alison McDermott’s case agaInst Sellafield. He refused Alison’s request for a recording even though he had the equipment to do so. Both just say there is no recording so you cannot have it. Hyams-Parish also believes that journalists should not have access to the bundles in cases either.

Alex Chalk MP, the solicitor general

But there is worse to come. Anybody listening to a tribunal hearing is banned from recording it. One person who did is now being prosecuted by the solicitor general., Alex Chalk, the Conservative MP for Cheltenham.

Katarzyna Paczkowska has had her case referred to the High Court after she used a recording to challenge a tribunal judgement. Her case is complicated and runs to 1800 pages so I won’t go into it now – except to say how ferociously this rule is being used without the tribunals agreeing to record the hearings. Manchester employment tribunal and her respondent, R-com. Consulting, raised the issue.

For my mind the present situation is one of drift, back tracking and pussy footing by the top judges.

A Ministry of Justice Spokesperson said:

“Though there is no legal requirement to record employment tribunals, handheld recording devices have been made available through this pilot which started in September 2019.”

My understanding is that HMCTS has an aspiration of a nationwide recording of all tribunals but no timetable yet on how this going to be achieved. But there does not appear to be any drive and determination to get this done, even though resources had been put aside. It is simply not good enough.

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Employment Tribunal open justice campaign : Sir Keith Lindblom’s office replies to lack of fairness and transparency in hearings

Sir Keith Lindblom, Senior President of Tribunals Pic credit : gov.uk

Last month over 320 people signed a letter to Sir Keith Lindblom, Senior President of Tribunals and the heads of the the employment tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland protesting that tribunals do not keep records or transcripts of their hearings.

The letter signed by senior NHS consultants, doctors, nurses, journalists, whistleblowers and wide range of members of the public sought reforms to the system because of the one sided nature of the hearings particularly in whistleblowing cases – where a litigant in person does not have the resources as a well funded employer.

Transcripts are not available unless the judge gives permission to the parties to take full notes and the only official document is the judge’s decision which can miss out facts given in the case.

Cases involve patient safety, bullying and discrimination

Many of the cases involve issues like hospital and patient safety, bullying, harassment, racial and sex discrimination where a claimant is sacked for suggesting anything has gone wrong rather than the issue being sorted.

Now the official reply from his office acknowledges a number of key facts that people have suspected but have not had confirmation.

First it admits no guidance exists on the use of transcripts and judges don’t have to use them. “There is no provision in the Rules or the Employment Tribunal Regulations that requires hearings to be recorded or transcripts to be produced.”

Second it admits that it is now possible to record hearings as many hearings are held on-line following both a courts modernisation programme and the Covid 19 pandemic.

Judge Barry Clarke, president of the employment tribunal service for England and Wales

And the most positive point in the reply suggests the most senior people are considering changes to the the system.

“The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals are giving consideration to recordings and transcripts in the context of video hearings, where there is a facility to make a recording and which are now used to a greater extent as a result of the HMCTS reform programme and the experience of the pandemic. This is in contrast to most in-person hearings. In most venues where Employment Tribunal hearings take place, recording equipment is not installed, and so no recording can be made. In a few locations in England and Wales, the Employment Tribunal is co-located with a court jurisdiction where such equipment is installed, and where that is so, its use is encouraged.”

The rest of the letter is unsurprisingly a defence of the present system.

“The overriding objective of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure is to deal with cases fairly and justly. That includes, so far as practicable: ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing; dealing with cases in ways which are proportionate to the complexity and importance of the issues; avoiding unnecessary formality and seeking flexibility in the proceedings; avoiding delay, so far as compatible with proper consideration of the issues; and saving expense. Most Employment Tribunal hearings are held in public. Any consideration of an order to prevent or restrict the public disclosure of any aspect of the proceedings must give full weight to the principle of open justice, and, like any judicial decision on a matter of case management, would be amenable to appeal.”

Litigant in person may bring a friend or relative to take notes

“It is also possible to take a note of the proceedings, and a litigant in person may bring a friend or relative with them to the, tribunal to act as a notetaker. Judges invariably allow this, and indeed encourage it.
Litigants in person are also regularly signposted to services such as Support Through Court which can assist with notetaking. “

It goes on: “”The Employment Tribunals provide detailed written reasons explaining the factual and
legal basis of their decisions. Any appeal is based on the judgment and supporting reasons, and the Employment Appeal Tribunal will not accept a transcript in place of written reasons. If at appeal the parties cannot agree what was said in evidence, the Employment Appeal Tribunal may ask the judge who heard the case to answer questions in writing about the evidence on a particular issue or issues. When that happens, both parties will be provided with the document the judge sends in response. In accordance with its Practice Direction, the Employment Appeal Tribunal may also, if it wishes, obtain the judge’s notes of evidence on any disputed matter, which will then feature in the appeal bundle.”

Whistleblowers are at a disadvantage

The problem with this defence is that it doesn’t seem to be reflected on the ground. Many whistleblowers say they feel at a disadvantage particularly if they wish to appeal a decision and they haven’t got a transcript to raise points that are not mentioned in the judgement. And most whistleblowing hearings are far from informal occasions – employers use forensic barristers whose questioning of whistleblowers would not be out of place at an Old Bailey trial.

It also raises some interesting questions. If recording facilities are available at on-line and hybrid hearings why are they not used? Or while obviously judges only use notes, do other court officials use them unofficially to check facts for judges? There has to be change in the employment tribunal system to bring it up to the 21st century and the HM Tribunal and Court Service need to explain how they intend to bring this about.

After publication of this blog a circuit judge publicly backed the recording of all hearings.

Kaly Kaul QC said: “As a Judge in a Crown Court where proceedings have been recorded ever since it replaced shorthand writers, it is unfortunate that every Court is not recorded. Teams and Cloud Video platform have recording facilities. In addition we have recording onto micro SD cards so that any material played in court is automatically recorded so that the Jury can retire with it. It is imperative that proceedings are recorded. It cannot be that difficult to put in place.”

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New campaign: Time to change a prejudicial and unfair employment tribunal system

Sir Keith Lindblom Senior President of the Tribunals Pic credit: gov.uk

This week sees the launch of a campaign by doctors, whistleblowers, journalists and members of the public to seek a big change in the way the employment tribunal system works.

It follows a series of judgements against whistleblowers – some have been carried on this blog- where the judgement itself ignores or twists facts and where the whistleblower – often but not always a litigant in person – has to defend himself or herself against big battalion lawyers brought in by employers.

Many of the cases involve issues like hospital and patient safety, bullying, harassment, racial and sex discrimination where a claimant is sacked for suggesting anything has gone wrong rather than the issue being sorted.

Worse some of most egregious offenders are in the public sector. They are the hospital and trust bosses, the management of Sellafield and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and Greater Manchester Police to name a few current examples. They spend millions of pounds on expensive barristers and solicitors fees all funded with your money – the taxpayer – rather than using your money to correct the problem.

They then go and try and bankrupt whistleblowers or drive them into abandoning their case by putting in six figure cost claims against them. Or use taxpayer’s money to give them six figure pay offs in return for a non disclosure agreement.

Judge Barry Clarke, President of the Employment Tribunals of England and Wales

All this is presided over by the judges who have a whip hand – they don’t record the proceedings or keep transcripts. They keep notes but they are for their private use and you cannot get them -even through a subject access request.

The only public record is their judgement – and if it misses out some of the evidence – there is no record that the evidence was ever given to the tribunal. And you cannot make a recording of the hearing – that is a criminal offence. Employers with more resources can employ their own note-takers – very useful if it goes to appeal and their lawyers won’t share their transcripts with the claimant.

The only safeguard is mainstream media which might report the hearing – though even then some employers try to get some of their evidence held in camera. But with the parlous state of the media , especially local media, journalists are rarely there.

Judge Shona Simon; President of the Scottish Employment Service

That is why the campaign has begun with a letter to the three top employment judges in the UK – Sir Keith Lindblom; Judge Barry Clarke and Judge Shona Simon, seeking a fundamental change to facilitate open justice- that transcripts of the proceedings of employment tribunals should be kept. The letter argues that the principle of a fair trial – enshrined by the European Court of Human Rights – cannot take place if only one side can afford to keep a record. It gives the employer a permanent advantage.

The decision to write the letter was taken at a meeting of Justice for Patients and Doctors – but supported by other whistleblowers who are not in the NHS.

With the help of my journalist colleague Philip Whiteley, Sellafield whistleblower Alison McDermott, cardiologist whistleblower Usha Prasad and junior doctor whistleblower Dr Chris Day,, the letter was circulated on social media.

Within just seven days we had backing from well over 300 people – from a former economic adviser to No Ten Downing Street, Sir Adam Ridley, 80 medical consultants, numerous GPs, nurses, teachers, to a former deputy groundsman at the Chelsea Pensioners hospital, a lorry driver, an actor, writer and a poet. This seems to suggest there is a wide ranging feeling that there is something wrong in the justice system.

This is the roll call of honour:

  1. Sir Adam Ridley former Downing Street adviser and economics adviser to Nigel Lawson and Sir Geoffrey Howe
  2. Jane Somerville, Emeritus Professor of Cardiology, Imperial College
  3. David E Ward, former cardiology consultant, St George’s Hospital, London
  4. Michael Byram Professor Emeritus University of Durham
  5. Dr Philip Howard MA G Dip Law LLM MA MD FRCP Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist
  6. Prof Brendan T Barrett Dip Optom Bsc Psychol PhD MCOptom FAOI FHEA
  7. Gautam Appa Emeritus Professor of OR Dept of Management, LSE
  8. Dr Chris Day, Emergency Medicine Doctor A&E Agency
  9. Dr Usha Prasad MBChB FRCP FESC Former Consultant Cardiologist and Lead Clinician for Heart Failure Epsom & St Helier University Hospital; Currently Locum Consultant Cardiologist at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  10. Dr Arun Baksi, Emeritus consultant physician
  11. Dr Michael Eden, consultant pathologist
  12. Susan Burell, consultant sonographer/ radiographer
  13. Dr Louella Vaughan, Consultant Physician in Acute Medicine
  14. Dr Kit Byatt, retired consultant geriatrician now working in human rights medicine
  15. Dr Ravi M Kare Consultant Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals
  16. Dr Paul Garrud Hon. Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham
  17. Dr Margaret Beedie Retired consultant psychiatrist
  18. Dr Susan Read MBE, FRCN. Retired Professor of Nursing Research at Sheffield University.
  19. Craig Jerwood MBBS, FRCA, FFICM Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine
  20. Dr Chantal Meystre MB ChB MA FRCP UKCP Palliative Medicine Consultant and Integrative Psychotherapist
  21. Thomas R. Lee, MB, BChir, FRCP, MRCPC retired Paediatrician
  22. Dr Jenefer Sargent Consultant Paediatrician
  23. Dr Catriona Connolly MBBS FRCA Consultant Anaesthetist
  24. Julia Bodle Consultant obstetrician
  25. Lesley Pavincich Consultant Psychotherapist
  26. Dr Rakesh Aga FRCP, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Nobles Hospital Isle of Man
  27. Shona M Hamilton Consultant Obstetrician (Retd) BSc, MB ChB, LLB, PGCert, MPhil FRCOG
  28. Dr Nancy Redfern Consultant Anaesthetist.
  29. Dr Katharine McDevitt, MBBS, MRCPCH, FRACP, Consultant Paediatrician Peterborough City Hospital
  30. John A Hamilton FRCS Edinburgh & Glasgow Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (Retd.)
  31. Dr D S Wijayatilake Consultant Intensive Care Medicine Queens Hospital Romford
  32. Milap Rughani Consultant Plastic Surgeon
  33. Dr Hugo Farne Respiratory Consultant, Imperial College London
  34. Eleni Gounari Paediatric consultant
  35. Therese Walsh Anaesthesia Fellow
  36. Mr Ismail Hassan Consultant Obs. & Gynae Birmingham Women & Children Hospital
  37. Dr Sarwat Shah Locum Consultant Dermatologist
  38. Mark J Curtis MBBS FRCS (Ed) FRCS (Eng) MFSEM (UK), Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  39. Jacqueline Anne Henshall Head of Private Patients (recently retired) Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  40. Matthew Welberry Smith Consultant Renal Transplant Physician
  41. Dr M Senaratne Consultant Psychiatrist
  42. Nasser Kurdy Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  43. Edwin Jesudason, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine Scotland
  44. Dr Arshad Siddique Consultant Psychiatrist
  45. Francis Sheehy Skeffington Retired Consultant Paediatrician
  46. Val Kyle, retired Consultant Rheumatologist
  47. Dr Neil Finer, Consultant Ophthalmologist
  48. Salam Alsam NHS Consultant
  49. Dr Kim E Isaacs FRACS Consultant Surgeon | Surgical Oncology General Surgery | St Vincent’s Hospital, Australia
  50. Mr John Davies Consultant surgeon Whipps Cross Hospital
  51. David Church, Locum GP, Wales, and currently also Consultant Support to North Wales Regional Hub of Test, Trace, Protect
  52. Keith Baxby Retired consultant surgeon. Dundee
  53. Dr Sean Whyte Consultant Psychiatrist & Deputy Medical Director
  54. Dr John Cøoper Consultant cardiologist
  55. Aprajit Bhalla Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  56.  Dilshad Marikar Paediatric Consultant West Suffolk Hospital
  57. Dr Carolyn Ruth Broadbent, recently-retired Consultant Anaesthetist, Royal Derby Hospital
  58. Dr Philip Timms Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
  59. Dr Katherine Pendry Consultant Haematologist (retired)
  60. Dr Jenny Jenkins Retired Consultant Anaesthetist
  61. Mr Basavaraj Sreeshyla, consultant ENT surgeon
  62. Dr Jonathan Taylor, consultant in emergency medicine 
  63. Dr Subramanian Narayanan, consultant radiologist
  64. Dr Deb Lee, consultant paediatrician
  65. Dr Peter Sheppard.  Consultant radiologist
  66. Dr Sheena Pinion, former consultant obstetrician Kirkcaldy Scotland
  67.  Iain Muir Consultant Surgeon Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary
  68. Dr John Baksi, consultant cardiologist
  69. Dr Bettina Harms, consultant paediatrician
  70. Professor Parag Singhal, consultant endocrinologist
  71.  Dr Christopher Moulton, Consultant in emergency medicine
  72. Dr Colin Hutchinson. Consultant Ophthalmologist
  73. Mr Amit Sinha, consultant Orthopaedic surgeon
  74. Dr Chriam George, consultant radiologist
  75. Dr Venugopal Poothirikovil, consultant paediatrician
  76. Miss Helen Fernandes, consultant neurosurgeon
  77. Mr Radhakrishna Shanbhag, Consultant in Trauma
  78. Dr Anil Jain, consultant radiologist
  79. Mr Omer Karim MB BS, MS, FRCSUrol, Locum Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Marsden and Charing Cross Hospitals
  80. Dr Azhar Ansari MBChB DM PhD FRCP
  81. Dr Tariq Choudhry.  Locum Consultant Psychiatrist Barnet Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust
  82. Dr Amit Mukherjee, Consultant Psychiatrist, London
  83. Roger Gartland actor
  84. Dr Ana Martinez Nahorro, Consultant cardiologist
  85. Kevin Donovan, secretary, Defend Our NHS
  86.  Brian Howard Thompson Retired BT Divisional Director
  87. Dr Malila Noone, Microbiologist
  88. DR Sunil Saxena, Anaesthetist
  89. Dr Naila Aslam, medical advisor.
  90. Dr Suma Basavaraj, general practitioner
  91. Dr Nishant Joshi, GP
  92. Mr Alexander Phillips, Research Director
  93. Dr David Mark Thornton, Senior partner, Richmond Medical Centre, Lincoln
  94. Dr James Wilson Haematology SpR
  95. Dr Katie Brooks, Principal Medical Writer
  96. Colin Padgett, Teacher, tutor and examiner
  97. Brian Morris Retired
  98. Dr Yasar Sabir Anatomy Fellow, University of Birmingham
  99. Ingrid Broad, Retired, previously MCSP, AACP
  100. Gordon Drummond Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh
  101. Dr Rebekah Cutler General Practitioner
  102. Jonathan Mackay MB ChB retired GP
  103. Keith Baker retired GP Trainer
  104. Moya Duffy retired GP
  105. Stephen Taylor IT Engineer retired
  106. Dr Heechan Kang Locum Senior Clinical Fellow/Specialist Registrar in Paediatric Cardiology
  107. John Bugler, retired
  108. Jan Marriott Registered General Nurse retired
  109. Judith Joy Member of the public
  110. Ian Talbot Process Operator
  111. Alan Ribot-Smith Retired Crypto Security Consultant
  112. Leonard Rouse, retired high school teacher
  113. Denise Cheetham  local authority employee
  114. David Mousley
  115. Dr C C Hulbert Retired
  116. Nigel Morris Civil Servant NI – Electricity Network Policy
  117. Rosalyn Anderson Retired senior pharmacist NHS
  118. Dr Michael Trowbridge GP
  119. Dr Fionnuala Kelly Orthopaedics Registrar Gold Coast University Hospital, Australia.
  120. Eamonn Rafferty
  121. Dr Cate Bulmer, GP trainee, NHS Education Scotland
  122. Patricia Lawlor, Lawyer and Vice-Chair of Whitestone Patient Participation Group
  123. Sinead Summers nurse at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, Guildford
  124. Dr Ian Cocks GP retired
  125. David Buglass Translater
  126. Cllr Dr Hannah Charlotte Copley Clinical Research Training Fellow, University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge
  127. Charles Bockett-Pugh retired engineer
  128. Glanville Neale Retired
  129.  Tracy Nelms Registered General Nurse (Community/General Practice
  130.  Brian Smart, retired Chartered Surveyor
  131. Robert Knowles, Retired maintenance engineer
  132. Catherine Hills Retired
  133. Emma Tyson ST4 Anaesthetics St Georges Hospital
  134. Dr Ibironke Tayo ST4 O&G  RCOG EOE ePortfolio champion
  135. Denise Wentworth Retired Nurse Practitioner
  136. Brian Wedge Retired
  137. John Harwood Ex telecommunications fitter
  138. Gerard Murphy MB BCh FRCP(Edin) MRCGP MICGP DPD(UWCM),Retired General Practitioner, Lisburn, Co. Antrim.
  139. Dr Nigel Speight Paediatrician (and Guardian reader) DurhamNeil Purcell – Lighting Cameraman
  140. Ravinder Passi whistleblower
  141. Dr Nick Mann, GP in LondonDr Derek Jones Associate Senior Researcher Italian National Research Council (CNR)Bologna, Italy
  142. Dr John Calvert, retired NHS General Practitioner
  143. Dr Krishnaveni padala Gpst3
  144. Thomas Clother Lorry Driver
  145. Christine Joachim Retired Social Worker
  146. Una-Jane Winfield Researcher and campaigner
  147. Joanne Rossouw – Barclays Bank whistleblower
  148. Bob McClenning   Retired, Liberal Democrat activist
  149. Oliver Darlington retired lecturer in MIcrobial Genetics
  150. Dr Sara MacDermott, GP
  151.  Roger Bilham retired metallurgist
  152. Dr Mary O’Gorman
  153. Patricia Browne, Retired  Care Manager
  154. Dr Anya Gopfert Public Health Registrar
  155. Russell Dunkeld Retired Registered General Nurse
  156. Judith King Retired GP
  157. Naomi R. Bowen, Retired Parish Clerk.
  158. Roger Lallemant, retired construction worker
  159. Ms S Murgraff Member of the Public
  160. Dr Kerry Orchard Specialty Doctor in Palliative Care
  161. Patrick Kirkby Retired
  162. Ian Leonard Owner – Leonard Projects Consultancy (Telecommunications) 
  163. Penelope Burton Retired GP
  164. Sally Hart
  165. Jessica Harris GP Partner
  166. Marian Davies Retired civil servant
  167. Wendy Horler Retired NHS worker
  168. Jamal Siddiqi member of the public
  169. Dr Yok Fun Chang Retired GP
  170. Andrew Pearce Learning & Teaching Quality Manager
  171. Siobhan Coleman Retired.
  172. Revd Judith Palmer- GP before ordination
  173. Dr Jason Holdcroft-Long  Specialist registrar in old age psychiatry
  174. Abelardo Clariana-Piga -member of the public
  175. Michael Young – retired broadcast media journalist.
  176.  Alison McDermott, BSc Hons, FCIPD. HR Consultant
  177. Ashley Borkett IT Systems Engineer
  178. KJ Swainson Retired Registered Nurse
  179. Nina Basey-Fisher, Sales Consultant
  180.  Gillian Kirk member of the public
  181. Dr Nisha Bhudia  ST7 in anaesthesia.
  182. Dr Mary-Clare Parker, GP
  183. Dr Gurdave Gill General Practitioner
  184. Dr Charles McEvoy, GP partner, Ripon
  185. Dr Alison Barnes Locum GP St Richard’s Hospital Chichester
  186. Stuart Dixon Retired NHS worker Author of Toxic Lives
  187. Christine Aram Retired Midwife
  188. Mike Darbyshire Trustee of the Bowles Rocks Trust
  189. Chris Cowsley Retired Professional
  190. Sheila Hedges  Retired
  191. Irene Leonard
  192. Dr Winifred Stack 
  193. General Practitioner Newcastle upon Tyne.
  194. Michael J Tynen Retired College Lecturer
  195. Angus Bearn Company director
  196. Harry McAulay Retired Schoolmaster
  197. Dr Andrew Muirhead-Smith ST6 Intensive Care & Anaesthesia
  198. Shuna Watkinson Retired nurse
  199. Joanna Lane CEO of  the charity Christopher Lane Trust.
  200. Martin Heaps, Data Security Analyst.
  201. David Collett, retired
  202. Dr Alexander Stockdale NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases University of Liverpool
  203. Rev Dr Judith Gretton-Dann Church of England priest
  204. Dr Tiago Ivo General Practitioner
  205. Derek Medhurst retired coach and assessor on organisations
  206. Harry Smart, writer and poet
  207. Maureen A Vilar retired teacher at Portsmouth City Council.
  208. Jackie Morgan retired union official
  209. Mary Lester RGN, BA(Hons) Specialist Community Nursing, wound care nurse
  210. Garry Dring – Registered Nurse Senior Clinical Advisor, North East Ambulance Service
  211. Julia Mountain Retired
  212. Sunil Kapur Teaching Assistant
  213. Carol Lindsay Smith. www.Patients4NHS.org.uk
  214. Ms Mary Morrison retired Uni SL in Language in Education
  215. Karen Clark mother to two hospital doctors
  216. Sandra Ash retired art tutor
  217. Justin Dennis Deputy grounds and gardens manager Royal Hospital Chelsea
  218. Carolyn Hupton retired
  219. Dr Peter Sinclair Whitehead GP Harrogate District Hospital Foundation Trust
  220. Margaret E. Johnson member of the public
  221. Dr Jennifer Adams Mb ChB MRCGP retired
  222. Philip Tucker Retired
  223. Jennifer Hall Health Visitor
  224. Mrs Sue Fuller retired social worker
  225. Dr Tom McNaughton, specialist registrar
  226. Dr Philip Delbridge Doctor (Middle Grade) – Emergency Medicine
  227. Nicholas Ellam  Project Manager (retired)
  228. Linda Walker NHS employee
  229. Janet Thompson Retired State Registered Nurse
  230. Ruth Barker Retired GP
  231. Rosemary Clarke Retired Solicitor
  232. Jo Reynolds Member of the public
  233. Dr Naomi Beer GP East London
  234. Graham Pearson – Engineer retired
  235. Carin Parker – Solicitor retired
  236. Mary-Louise Stewart Member of the Public
  237. Dr Ankush Dhariwal Doctor in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
  238. Dr David Sillince Retired GP
  239. Marc Woodman Junior Doctor
  240. Dr Andrew McArdle MRCPCH MSc MA Clinical Research Training Fellow, Imperial College London
  241. Naomi Adelson, GP
  242. Saad Chowdhury  GP VTS Registrar (junior doctor)
  243. Dr David Miles GP with a Special Interest in Addictions SE & NE Recovery Hubs
  244. Saleha Jamali Member of the Public
  245. Rebecca Winsor D.O. Registered Osteopath
  246. Jonathan Gurr Retired General Practitioner
  247. Matt Sheehy GP Derby
  248. Tracy Mason Court reporter
  249. Nigel Midgley – Operations Manager
  250. Ilkay Cetin  Tranlator
  251. Hilary Beavan Company director
  252. Rachel Nicolle, FwSS, self-employed Shiatsu practitioner
  253. Jill Stevens Retired Journalist
  254. Dr Mark N. Upton GP Tutor, Hull York Medical School
  255. John Thain Ex-Nurse and Retired Nurse Lecturer
  256. Dr Venetia Fawcett Retired GP
  257. Ashley Borkett IT system engineer
  258. Robert Wyatt Retired head teacher
  259. Dr Peter Tyerman Board member Autism Plus
  260. Dr Cara Hughes BM MSc FRCA Anaesthetic Trainee ST6 West of Scotland Deanery
  261. Karl Connor Head of Communications and Community Engagement,
  262. Dr Manuela Perry Specialty doctor in Psychiatry
  263. Pamela Cross GP
  264. Dr Marion Judd PhD
  265. Rob Wheatley CTO – Watson Wheatley Financial System
  266. Clio Bellenis Retired child and adolescent psychiatrist
  267. Andrew Fitchett Locum GP
  268. Dr Lucy Dobson MRCOG Clinical Research Fellow in Gynaecological Oncology
  269. Julie O’Neil Libraries Services Manager
  270. John Graveling – Retired.
  271. Gillian Tennent Retired teacher
  272.  Susan Brown Retired Librarian
  273. Dr William Loveday ST5 Psychiatric Registrar
  274. Dr Jennifer Burgess (she/her) General Adult Psychiatry ST4 BA(Oxon), MBBS, MRCPsych
  275. Anthony Scratchley Counsellor
  276. Mark Pearse , retired farmer
  277. Dr Anna Passmore, locum GP Bedfordshire
  278. Rev Jeffrey I Smith Methodist Minister (retired)
  279. Jennifer McIntyre-McClure Retired Occupational Therapist
  280. Alexander McClure Retired nurse
  281. Dr Helen Parkinson GP
  282. Karen Blakey:  Researcher/Whistleblower in the Academic domain
  283. Kevin Ferguson IT Service Manager
  284. Hugh Wilkins Clinical Scientist
  285. Andrew Burd,
  286. MB ChB, FRCS(Ed), MD, PhD Director: Second Opinion (Medico/Legal) HK International Limited
  287. Janet Marks member of the Public
  288. Debby Monkhouse CBT Therapist
  289. Richard Slaughter   Retired Librarian
  290. Mrs. Carolyn Munro retired Medical Education Manager
  291.  Dr Peter Mercer PhD not medical doctor retired university lecturer
  292. David Squires, Definitive Map Review Officer, Nottinghamshire County Council
  293. Ms Shirley Murgraff member of the public
  294. Kathleen White, Retired Nurse
  295. Judith Lea Retired
  296. Julia Herod retired Social Worker
  297.  Philip Whiteley, freelance journalist
  298. David Hencke, freelance journalist
  299. Amrit Wilson, Writer and Journalist
  300. Dr Esha Sarkar Junior Doctor Whistleblower
  301.  Jenny Vaughan vice chair Doctors’ Association UK
  302. Neesha Hall member of the public
  303. Niccola Swan, retired Barclays regional director and former magistrate
  304. Dr Frances E Atkins MB ChB MRCGP
  305. Dr Ian McDermott MB ChB Leeds Community Health NHS Trust
  306. Staffordshire GP
  307. Terje Vangen Schea Fundraising Director
  308. Jill Church Managing Director Angels Healthcare Ltd
  309. Jill Hodsman, Children’s Nurse Specialist
  310. Sheena Reid – Talent Dynamics Ltd ICF Master Certified Coach
  311. Frank Reid FCA chartered accountant
  312. Name Denise Chisholm Paediatric Specialist Nurse
  313. Roger A Coleman, Radiological Safety Technician, Sellafield Ltd
  314. Oliver New Secretary, Ealing Trades Union Council
  315.  Sylvia Chandler (retired GP)
  316. Ann Barrett  MSc, MCOptom, DipGlauc, DipTP (IP)
  317. Andrew Burd, MB ChB, FRCS(Ed), MD, PhD Director: Second Opinion (Medico/Legal) HK International Limited

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Guest blog: The appalling treatment of NHS whistleblowers parallels the Post Office sub-post masters scandal

Dr David.E.Ward,

 David E Ward, a distinguished retired cardiologist, formerly at St George’s Hospital, South London, responds to the judgement by Tony Hyams-Parish on the case of Dr Usha Prasad

The treatment of NHS whistleblowers is a national scandal of the same iniquitous order of magnitude as the miscarriages of justice meted out to the sub-postmasters. This latter saga began 20 years ago after the installation of faulty software called Horizon from Fujitsu. Incredibly it was not picked up for years because the victims were not believed or they were accused of lying. The evidence was not properly collated or scrutinised. Or was it, but no-one said anything. “No other post office has had this problem” they were told. Perhaps the current Judge led inquiry will find out. Many were incarcerated. Some sold their homes to pay thousands of pounds of fictitious till deficits. Sadly, some committed suicide.

The sequence of events for NHS whistleblowers is different but the outcomes are strikingly similar. The NHS whistleblowers’ stories are largely unknown to the wider public apart from the occasional one featured in a national newspaper.

The WB raises a concern, which by the way is their duty under law, (Duty of Candourhttps://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111117613)

but instead of welcoming the exposure of the defect of a system (e.g. number of beds in a limited space), faulty equipment (e.g. a diagnostic machine) or a process (e.g. errors in admission procedures – wrong patient or wrong procedure) any of which may lead to patient harm or even death), the Trust fails to act but instead embarks upon a path of vicious and disproportionate reprisals against the WB.

The consequence of this chain of events is often catastrophic for the individual. The whistleblowing doctor may be subjected to repeated internal hearings, quasi-disciplinary proceedings, Maintaining High Professional Standards hearings etc. The latter may be chaired by lay persons with a legal qualification but posing as a barrister. Most doctors subject themselves (they raise an appeal) to an Employment Tribunal in the hope that justice will prevail. Sadly it does not. These proceedings are not formally recorded for later open scrutiny. The judge’s notes (such as they may exist) are private and not made available. It is also a criminal offence to make an electronic recording. The litigant can take notes but how do they manage to do that whilst giving evidence or listening intently to the evolution of their own fate? A preposterous suggestion.

Expensive lawyers who support the health trust

There is another major factor in these processes. They could not proceed without the complicity of the teams of expensive solicitors and barristers who support the Respondent. All this is paid for by the taxpayer. The claimant will of course have their own legal support if they can afford it but which is obviously limited by costs. This gross “inequality of arms” is a major factor in the final “justice” handed out. I don’t think many of us would call that fair and just. Doctors are threatened with enormous costs which in most cases could only be met by selling the family home. Why? Oh yes, it’s to force them to withdraw their claims and believe it or not it usually works!

Judge Tony Hyams-Parish

At Employment Tribunals it appears that the sum total of evidence is not scrutinised. Some evidence appears to be selectively omitted at the discretion of the ET Judge. In the Dr Prasad case (see David Hencke’s last blog) the admission by the lead of cardiology (Dr Richard Bogle) that a death which should have been reported to the coroner was not reported but “covered-up” is not even mentioned in the final judgment! One could ask for the transcript to check that this observation is correct. (Oh, no I can’t because there is no transcript but I did attend the virtual ET hearing and can vouch that I heard it stated!) That worked out quite well then didn’t it? To an outside observer who has some vicarious experience of these Tribunals it is nothing short of gobsmackingly incredible in a western democracy (I don’t have the full panoply of words to describe it!).

Former post office workers celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, after having their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal. Thirty-nine former subpostmasters who were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting because of the Post Office’s defective Horizon accounting system have had their names cleared by the Court of Appeal. Issue date: Friday April 23, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit : Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Post Office workers (Horizon scandal) did not commit any crimes neither did the NHS Whistleblowers. They have not broken any laws. Yet how is it that they have failed to present a case of sufficient strength to convince an ET Judge? Their punishment for exposing potentially harmful processes, which could save lives, is to be condemned, lose their careers, their livelihoods, their homes and in some cases their families or even their own lives. Put simply they are crushed by massive inequality of arms – expensive lawyers funded by the taxpayer. Swathes of evidence is ignored.

Is there some sort of collusion between the judiciary and the respondent or their legal representatives? Some MHPS hearings are seemingly very dodgy (some doctors/victims have observed this and can demonstrate it with evidence) up to and including the invention of spurious legal terms such as “fitness for purpose” which is unknown in British Employment law (see David Hencke’s blog on the Maintaining High Professional Standards Appeal).

Then there is always the possibility of undeclared conflicts of interest in the appointment of an ET officials. Just saying…..

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Judge covers up “avoidable death” of heart patient and General Medical Council revalidation of Dr Usha Prasad to dismiss her whistleblowing case

Employment Judge Tony Hyams-Parish Pic credit: dmhstallard.com

Publication of avoidable death scandal at Epsom and St Helier University Health Trust leads to another relative coming forward and queries about a former senior staff member in Jersey

An employment judge has thrown out Dr Usha Prasad’s whistleblowing case and all her allegations of victimisation, sex harassment, and sex and race discrimination.

She is also facing a costs claim of an astounding £150,000 plus VAT via the law firm Capsticks from the Epsom and St Helier University Health Trust.

A letter from Capsticks says: ” The Respondent has incurred very substantial costs indeed in defending the unmeritorious proceedings, of in excess of £150,000 plus VAT. The costs incurred correlate to the Claimant’s unreasonable conduct and the unmeritorious nature of her complaints.”

Judge Tony Hyams-Parish’s judgement is long on the detail of all the various top management’s moves against Dr Prasad which led to an unprecedented 28 month suspension from clinical duties and remarkably short on any evidence given by her and her witnesses. He exonerates the actions of the senior management and ignores claims by any of her witnesses. And given he goes into such detail it is rather surprising he doesn’t mention that Daniel Elkeles, the former chief executive of the trust, offered to abandon the internal disciplinary proceedings against her if she dropped the tribunal case against the trust.

Indeed the most twisted part of his judgement is what he leaves out. Take the issue of the GMC revalidation of Dr Prasad. This is his purple passage:

“The Tribunal was invited to consider was the outcome of the claimant’s hearing before the GMC. The GMC began an investigation into the claimant which concluded in March 2021 with no further action to be taken. The claimant continued to state throughout this hearing that she had been exonerated by the GMC, suggesting that their conclusion must cast doubt on the actions and motivations of the respondent. However, the Tribunal found it difficult to draw any such conclusions from the GMC outcome. The Tribunal was not shown the content of the GMC referral or the case examiner’s report. Whilst the GMC and the respondent were looking at the same cases, their remits were likely to be quite different. In any event, the Tribunal was not shown sufficient evidence to decide either way.”

Really? The GMC judgement was entirely based on a list of 43 complaints submitted by the trust and obviously the trust expected it to be endorsed by the GMC. Instead it was sent to very experienced cardiologist in Middlesbrough who had worked at Papworth Hospital and he could not find anything wrong. And not only was this finding approved by the GMC, they revalidated her – taking away the power of the trust to do this. Given many doctors feel they are not well treated by the GMC, this was a remarkable outcome. The GMC was telling the trust to get stuffed.

Dr Usha Prasad with the former chief executive of the trust, Daniel Elkeles

The second area is the glossing over of the main whistleblowing claim. It centred around the avoidable death of a 76 year old man, Mr P, from heart failure, partly caused by negligence, muddle and poor communication at the trust. Dr Usha Prasad, who had no part in the care of the patient, was asked to review the case as an independent person. Evidence was given that an attempt was made to get Dr Prasad to rewrite her findings which included that the death should have been reported to the coroner and the Care Quality Commission. At the hearing Dr Richard Bogle, former head of the cardiology department, admitted that this should have been done – basically saying Usha Prasad’s judgement was right.

But this has been airbrushed from the judgement. If I hadn’t been there to report the case, no one would be the wiser that this happened.

Judge Tony Hyams-Parish disrespectful to dead man’s family

Not only to do I find this a gross omission but in my view the judge is being disrespectful to the man’s family by removing the details of the whistleblowing case. It is though he is thinking so what, a 76 year old dies, who cares?

But Judge Hyams-Parish knows he is on solid ground to ignore all this. He has already told Usha Prasad there is no recording or transcript of the proceedings, and his judges’ notes will never be released. So his judgement is the only record. And it is criminal offence if anyone has a recording.

Judgement a stain on British justice

My view is that this judgement is a stain on British justice which is supposed to be the epitome of ” fair play” and full transparency.

Instead it appears to me to more akin to Russian and Chinese justice .Here there is a semblance of justice but the result is a foregone conclusion. What appears in this case is the forces of the Establishment have been marshalled to intimidate and destroy an individual for the benefit of state power.

One good result of the publicity is that a relative of another person who died at St Helier hospital has come forward to me to investigate their case. And what happened at St Helier seems to have been picked up in Jersey, where this blog has a small circulation, and queries are being raised about a former senior manager at St Helier.

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Health Education England wins case against Dr Chris Day with the help of a “deceitful” former postgraduate student dean

Dr Andrew Frankel

The long legal saga of junior doctor Dr Chris Day’s whistleblowing battle over patient safety at the intensive care unit at Woolwich Hospital took another twist and turn this week.

Health Education England successfully overturned a decision ordering it to appear at a tribunal in June alongside Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. The body convinced a judge that an exercise to influence a former Liberal Democrat health minister to change his mind supporting Chris Day by Dr Andrew Frankel, a former postgraduate dean, had nothing to do with them.

Sir Norman Lamb

My last blog on this is here. It tells the bizarre story of Dr Andrew Frankel, who is also a distinguished consultant nephrologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and expert on the management of diabetes and kidney disease. He basically debased himself by going round the back of his old employer, Health Education England, to try to influence Sir Norman Lamb, then an MP, to see another side to Chris Day’s account. The attempt would have been extremely helpful to Health Education England which has repeatedly tried to distance itself from the scandal of inadequate staffing at this intensive care unit.

Dr Frankel tried to get hold of Dr Day’s training record

Dr Frankel’s methods included trying to get details of Dr Day’s training record after leaving Health Education England which he was not entitled to see at the time. He then arranged a private meeting with Sir Norman to present a paper outlining HEE’s case and emphasising it was only there to help junior doctors and not criticise them. Sir Norman has been a strong supporter of Dr Day and publicly highly critical of the way the HEE and the trust have treated him.

The judge was presented with two alternative interpretations of the facts. One presented by the health body was that it knew nothing about Dr Frankel’s activities. Professor Wendy Reid, medical director of HEE, told the tribunal she had been ” flabbergasted and staggered” when she learnt he had visited Sir Norman without her knowledge. He had previously presented the paper to her as a private document and an aide memoire if she or anyone else wanted to talk to Sir Norman But later on when the body found out about his personal visit they remained silent -not wanting to disown the actions of a former employee.

Dr Chris Day – whistleblower

Dr Day’s lawyers argued that in effect Dr Frankel was acting as a de facto agent of HEE trying to present an alternative scenario to Dr Day’s case. They drew their evidence from some of the sloppy wording in e-mails -particularly Dr Frankel’s juxtaposition of the use of the word ” I” and then ” we” implying it was HEE’s view. He had insisted when he met Sir Norman that he emphasised he was doing it on his initiative. There are no notes of the meeting. The body also discussed ” behind the scenes” action to refute Dr Day’s case.

The Judge Katherine Andrews chose to believe HEE’s version rather than Dr Day’s.

Frankel ” fully acknowledged the foolhardiness if some actions “

She said: “My view is that the claimant genuinely believes that implication and accordingly his evidence is truthful in that it reflects his beliefs. I also find however that the evidence of Dr Frankel and Prof Reid was similarly truthful. They are both distinguished in their respective careers and appeared to give their evidence carefully and candidly. Indeed Dr Frankel readily acknowledged the foolhardiness of some of his actions, undoubtedly well-meaning though they were.”

…”I do recognise that Dr Frankel’s use of words in his emails and the briefing document is mixed. On some occasions he used the first person singular which was entirely in accordance with him acting privately.
On others he used the first person plural – sometimes clearly by reference to times when he had been seconded to the respondent but other times inappropriately using ‘we/our’ etc. I find that this was a combination of, on occasion, poor drafting by Dr Frankel and also a strong personal identification with the issues.”

…”The way he went about it however was wholly inappropriate and in doing so he slipped into using language that confused his previous and current roles.”

I am curious about this. Dr Frankel is the author of some pretty important research papers in his other role as a consultant. I would have thought he would be very careful about the use of his language – at least I would hope so for the sake of his research.

She also absolved the health body from any involvement in backing Dr Frankel.

“Ratification can only apply where the person whose act is in question (Dr Frankel) professed or purported at the time of acting to do so as agent and to have authority to bind the principal (the respondent), it is plain that the claimant cannot successfully argue ratification as in fact the opposite was professed by Dr Frankel. He expressly and repeatedly said that he was acting entirely privately and not on behalf of the respondent.”
The decision is significant and absolves HEE from having to explain their actions in this murky case.

As Chris Day says on his supporters site:

“In late 2019 we won an important victory that guaranteed that HEE would have to account for everything at a final hearing on both their denial of cost threats and the false document sent to Sir Norman Lamb.

An order dated 3 October 2019 by Judge Sage rejected all arguments from HEE on why they should not attend a final hearing on the facts and ordered them to respond at a final hearing on their denial of cost threats and the allegedly false and detrimental document sent to Sir Norman Lamb

“Following my barrister’s illness with Covid-19 in March 2021, the London South Regional Judge Freer (who was the trial judge that signed off my obviously unfair settlement) allowed Judge Sage’s decision to be changed outside of any appeal process by a Judge Kelly in a new order that essentially replaced Judge Sage’s order. This gave HEE a second bite at the cherry at exiting the case on technical arguments. HEE have now succeeded at this and have been rescued from accounting for their actions on the cost threats and the misleading document sent to Sir Norman Lamb.

“The Regional Judge has also failed to progress my wasted cost application or dismiss it despite it being lodged in 2019. This application focuses on how the nation’s junior doctors were argued out of whistleblowing protection for 4 years. This video summarises the issues that the Regional Judge appears to be hoping will just go away.

“I have made a request for the Judge’s (Regional Judge Freer)  record of my 2018 hearing that settled.  This has not been responded to by the Tribunal. This is my only hope of an honest record of that hearing so this is difficult to understand. “

Dr Day is to talk to the BMA who paid for his legal representation to see if he can appeal this judgement.

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The curious tale of the NHS dean, the MP and the whistleblower doctor

Dr Chris Day

This week a mundane employment tribunal hearing revealed an extraordinary tale of subterfuge, cover up and denial in the hidden bureaucracy of the National Health Service.

The hearing was yet another in the long run saga of the case of Dr Chris Day, a plucky young doctor who has taken on the NHS establishment over a very important issue of patient safety and is still in the middle of an eight year battle with the authorities. The legal bill to taxpayers from the NHS to pay for this long battle is now is likely to rise to close to a £1 million.

The story began in August 2013 when Chris Day, a junior doctor initially complained about inadequate staffing. It got worse in January 2014 when he was working overnight in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich when two locum doctors failed to show up. He had to cover other wards and A&E and reported his concerns to managers. He saw this as putting patients in such a sensitive area at serious risk.

What followed was not moves to put this right by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Health Education England, which has a responsibility for employing junior doctors, but a state of denial which ended up at the High Court and the Court of Appeal and a long delayed employment tribunal hearing. At one stage Mr Day,a married doctor with a young family, says he had to settle because the NHS threatened him with huge legal bills which could have bankrupted him. Both the HEE and the Trust have publicly denied doing this.

However at a new hearing it turned out that the NHS Trust had withheld crucial documents – which should have been declared in a previous hearing – and he won his case for a fresh hearing which is scheduled to take place next June.

Health Education England ” misled the public, press, MPs and officials”

The grounds for the new hearing is essentially as Dr Day says” that Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Health Education England have objectively misled the public, press, several MPs and public officials on my case and how it settled in 2018. I say this is in order to smear and discredit me and the patient safety issues that I raised.  The Trust have then failed to disclose 18 letters in their Tribunal standard disclosure that their CEO sent to local MPs and public officials with this misleading content in.”

This week’s hearing was centred round the role of Health Education England. This body is reviving a claim – which it conceded last time at the last minute – that it has nothing to do with his case. Its first attempt was to claim it didn’t employ junior doctors. The new attempt at avoiding involvement is to claim that one of the principal figures involved in the case Dr Andrew Frankel is no longer employed by them so HEE now has nothing to do with it.

Dr Day said: “HEE are arguing because this person is now no longer in post as Post Graduate Dean they are no longer responsible for him. They are doing this even though he was clearly in communication with the top of HEE and assisting them with various functions, since leaving his Post Graduate Dean post in 2018. We say he was an agent of HEE and they are still responsible.”

Sir Norman Lamb ” postgraduate knowledge of Whitehall and NHS subterfuge”

What emerged at the hearing centred round an approach to one of Dr Day’s supporters, Sir Norman Lamb. Sir Norman is a former health minister in the coalition and was an MP at the time. He has not held back on his criticism of both the trust and HEE on the way they have treated Dr Day.

Sir Norman has postgrad level of knowledge about the way NHS and Whitehall officials use subterfuge to get their own way. He has hero status in my mind for making sure that an independent panel inquiry into suspicious deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital happened after civil servants used the time he was on a French camping holiday with his family to try and annul his decision by getting another minister to put up a written statement in Parliament saying there would be no inquiry.

He found out and blocked it. As a result a thorough investigation by the panel found that no fewer than 456 elderly people had their lives shortened by overprescribing drugs like diamorphine. and it had been covered up by the health trust. As a former member of that panel I am restricted in what I can say about this but this is now the subject of a big police investigation,

In Dr Day’s case Sir Norman had given an interview to the Sunday Telegraph where he accused the trust and HEE of trying to crush Dr Day for his disclosures.

What this week’s tribunal revealed is that the HEE were profoundly disturbed by his comments because it would damage their reputation with junior doctors.

A cache of emails revealed that HEE was discussing ” behind the scenes ” methods -including contacting the General Medical Council – to redress the balance rather than openly criticising Dr Day.

Professor Wendy Reid, medical director at Health Education England

Professor Wendy Reid, medical director of HEE, admitted this was the case but said no action was subsequently taken. But she did correspond with Dr Andrew Frankel suggesting if she was going to meet Sir Norman he ” could give her a tutorial”.

What happened instead was that Dr Andrew Frankel, now a former postgraduate dean at HEE, told the tribunal that he decided off his own bat to approach Sir Norman by asking to meet him and sent him an 11 page document to refute the criticism. Dr Frankel insisted that he had not told anybody that he was doing this, even though he obtained material for his document from the HEE. He admitted that he had acted stupidly in getting personal details about Dr Day from HEE for his report as he knew they would refuse him as an ex employee.

Instead he tried to make out that he was being helpful to Dr Day by discussing this with Sir Norman. When this was put to Dr Day in cross examination by Mr Dijen Basu, QC for HEE, Dr Day flatly denied it.

In extraordinary evidence Dr Frankel insisted he had no role to play that would bring him in contact with HEE though later it was disclosed that in his new job at Imperial College Hospital Health Trust some of his work would bring him into contact with them.

Professor Reid told the tribunal she had been ” flabbergasted and staggered” about what Dr Frankel had done, insisting she knew nothing about the meeting.

But when HEE did find out it remained silent about what happened knowing that the document was favourable to their case. As Andrew Allen, QC for Dr Day said in his summing up:. The document “is repeatedly expressed in a way that presents the report as an HEE position rather than an individual view from Dr Frankel.” Nor did HEE take any action to disavow Dr Frankel when Sir Norman informed them he had received a document from Dr Frankel three months later.

He also said Dr Frankel contradicted himself. He claimed “encyclopaedic knowledge on the case’ but on the other hand he repeatedly said in oral evidence that his knowledge was only about him and his team and the actions they took between June and December 2014.

Even the lawyer for HEE Mr Basu described Dr Frankel’s position as ” devious”.

The tribunal will decide next month. If HEE wins the organisation will no longer be part of Dr Day’s case. If it loses its role will be part of the June hearing.

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My blog in 2021: The year the number of hits reached three million

London fireworks ushering in the New Year. Pic credit: BBC

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers.

This year my blog hit another milestone since it was launched in 2009 after I left the Guardian . The number of hits on the site topped three million – 3,113, 413 to be exact.

Last year this blog received 286,840 hits and over 203,000 visitors. This is smaller than the previous year but still a substantial number for a single handed blog. It is also the year when I started to solicit donations for my investigative work and I have now received close to £2000 in four months.

Part of the reason for the drop is that Back to 60 campaign which I still support has now morphed into a broader campaign – CEDAWinLAW- which people have needed time to get their heads round. Back to 60 was a simple single issue campaign concentrating on getting full restitution for 3.8 million 50s born women who have had to wait up to six years for their pension. Now it has changed into a much bigger campaign covering ALL discrimination against women based on a UN convention which we ratified in 1986 but have never fully implemented- the UN Convention on Eliminating All forms of Discrimination Against Women.

CEDAW tribunal last year attracted a lot of interest

This is now making its mark – two of my highest blogs hits last year- relate to the new CEDAW campaign getting 6500 and over 8,800 each.

The top blog came from a tip off from a reader, Rosie Brocklehurst, who received a threatening letter from the Department for Work and Pensions as part of an anti-fraud exercise to gather information from pensioners. The top line was : ““If you fail to be available for this review and do not contact me, your entitlement to State Pension may be in doubt and your payments may be stopped. ( Bold type my emphasis). This had 25,652 hits.

The second highest at 20,643 came from a 50s woman whose Freedom of Information request revealed the Department for Work and Pensions had never conducted an impact assessment on the effects of raising the pension age for women from 60 to 66.

One older blog which exposed the huge £271 billion savings made by successive governments putting money into the national insurance fund made the top ten blogs – adding another 9828 hits – taking it to an astonishing 331,000 hits since it was published.

Rob Behrens – Parliamentary Ombudsman. His report findings leaked.

One controversial blog leaking the maladministration findings of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s draft report on 50s women over the raising of the pension age had 9,688 hits. Senior members of the WASPI campaign who knew this wanted me to take it down for fear the Ombudsman would change his mind. This turned out to be groundless and a lot of people were given advance warning.

More next year on Whistleblowers

Next year as well as following through CEDAW, keeping an eye on pension developments, I will also be taking up more and more whistleblower cases -involving doctors in the NHS, Sellafield and other areas. One case I took up last year was the plight of Dr Usha Prasad, a cardiologist who has been dismissed by Epsom and St Helier University Health Trust after exposing an avoidable death there. The combined blogs in her case have topped over 8000 hits. Expect more of this.

Global reach of the blog

An analysis by WordPress shows that my blog has a very big UK audience – over 264,000 hits out of the 286,840 last year – with the remaining 22.700 coming from overseas. Biggest overseas hits were from the United States ( 6821), Spain (3071) and the Republic of Ireland ( 2143). But on a much smaller scale it also has a global reach covering almost every country in the world, including hits from the Marshall Islands, Greenland, Russia, China, India, Mauritius and nearly every country in South America, Asia and Africa plus Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the whole of Europe.

Next year will be challenging – I already have enough new stories to investigate -plus a some long term investigations which take a while to come to fruition. Please continue to donate to my blog to keep my investigations going.

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