Whistleblowing at Wolverhamptons’ New Cross Hospital

New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton has been caught up in a row over whistleblowers after outing a former consultant who accused two colleagues of giving cancer patients unnecessary chemotherapy.

The whistleblower, who is named as Dr David Ferry on the hospitals website, told the Daily Mail that patients were put through unnecessary pain and suffering because of the treatment, but the hospital has hit back. It acknowledges that 55 patients were given non-standard chemotherapy between 2005 and 2009 but insists that none came to any significant harm, nor did it affect their survival chances.

He quit the hospital in January 2014, resigning voluntarily from the Trust as he awaited investigation into allegations of serious misconduct.

Georgina Halford-Hall, from Whistleblowers UK commented. “It’s absolutely disgraceful that Dr Ferry has been named in this way on the hospital website, all whistleblowers deserve protection by their employer and celebration by all of the British public. This case is identical to many that we see and it’s unfortunately not an isolated incident – there are doctors and members of staff all around the country who are in exactly the same position; they disclose situations that hospitals do not say are untrue or deny, while setting out to damage the reputation of the whistleblower, in an attempt to divert attention from the wrong doing. The reality is that mistakes happen and we all understand that, but rather than admitting it, they (NHS trusts) then go about covering it up, and in doing so discredit and undermine the same person that the patients rely on, the people that they trust, the doctors and nurses and the other essential staff.”

In the last week alone, Mrs Halford-Hall has personally taken calls from seven whistleblowers who have made disclosures using the protection afforded to them in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA), and within minutes of them making the disclosure they have been hauled in front of their line managers. This is simply wrong.

In this case, as a result of Doctor Ferry’s anonymous whistleblowing, two other oncologists at New Cross Hospital, Doctor Margaret King and Doctor Mark Churn have now had their photos printed in the press, and their names published, even though they have been exonerated by the Trust.

Georgina Halford-Hall continued, “Whistleblowers never set out to be whistleblowers, they set out to do their job, and as part of us doing our jobs every day, we would expect our employers to protect us from the glare of the public, and the fact that the Trust have released all of the Doctors names is an absolutely obscene breach of contract.”

“Time and time again, it’s the whistleblower that gets the blame for the wrongdoing where, in fact, all they are doing is exposing wrongdoing themselves, and in this instance it looks like it’s the NHS Trust that have named these Doctors to perhaps divert the attention away from the Trust itself.”

Whistleblowers UK provides support and advice to whistleblowers. If you know of, or suspect any, wrong doing in your business or you are thinking about whistleblowing, contact WBUK in the first instance by emailing helpme@wbuk.org or call the helpline 01302 944 785 ( 01302 WHISTL).

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