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Whistleblowing!


bobby47
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Two things bother me more than anything about the care we show for The Whistleblower. Is there ever a good outcome for the Whistleblower and why, more than anything else, is the reaction from the hirearchy toward the Whistleblower, moreoften than not always a negative and aggressive one.

Take for example the recent revelations by the Paramedic for Worcestershire NHS. This chap, a Mr Stuart Gardner told it the way he saw it and what happens? The leader, a Mr Stewart Messer hurtles out of his office and bans the whistleblower from ever setting foot on their premises again. It's an odd trait that seems to affect a huge number of public service leaders.

Why this strange reaction? What is it that makes people like Mr Messer react so aggressively toward someone who clearly cares a great deal about outcomes once a patient gets out of the ambulance and gets wheeled into the A&E ward. God only knows!

And as for the outcome of those who decide to blow the whistle, I've read and read up on the stories of other whistleblowers, more notably Nigel Hobro, James Griffiths, Martin Moreton and our own Paul Cardin, and I can't find one example where the outcome and conclusion have had a happy ending for the whistleblower. In fact, as far as I can find, the ending for the poor soul is they become near on unemployable, they lose money fighting their corner, their health is badly affected and their home and family lives are forever blighted by the battle they were forced to fight because the hirearchy turned nasty like Mr Messer and created a theatre of open hostility and corporate warfare.

And what of the Hereford Council whistleblower? Here in Hereford, we haven't got a John Brace blog, a Wirral Leaks of a Wirral in it Together who actively support the whistleblower and help fight the corner. Our whistleblower only has Hereford Voice to support them and it's this lack of visible and written support which must make the Hereford Council whistleblower feel so isolated. I would imagine that this 'one of our own', must rue the day he ever decided to step forward and say, 'this ain't right'.

Whatsmore, Id guess that their health is in decline, they've become isolated, they feel friendless and they only have their catastrophising imagination to keep them going during these long winter days of wondering what will happen next.

Yep! Im convinced that blowing the whistle and expecting a fair measure of kindness from the Council is a foolish idea and the only outcome one can expect is a war of words, a battle within that lays the blame at your doorstep and the absolute final conclusion that you should have kept your mouth shut and turned a blind eye to bullying.

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A brilliant piece, Bobby.

 

Like you, this concerns me greatly. Hard to fathom isn't it, why when someone brings a genuine issue into the public gaze, they are treated with such hostility.

 

The procedures and protocols which management are so quick to point out, are there to protect these folk, are abandoned with ease, and the whole circus becomes little more than a modern day witch hunt.

 

So desperate are those in power to maintain that all is well, and no wrong doing or errors have occurred on "their watch" that it becomes the easy solution to lay blame at the whistle blowers door.

 

Nobody else is complaining. Nobody else is making a fuss. It is this poor individual - who only ever wanted to do the right thing - who is at fault. They must be impossible to manage...difficult, the root of the problem.

 

Yes.Much easier all round if this one individual can be held up as a shining example to the rest of the workforce, to keep your head down, see no evil, hear no evil, and never, ever speak of the evils, they may have witnessed.

 

If you do......you'll be on your own.

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Well good news our banned paramedic has had an apology!!!! There were a lot of complaints and I for one had my say!

 

I redacted my details ( love that word).

 

Please see below.

 

 

 

Thank you for your email.

 

As I am sure you can imagine the circumstances are complicated and the media reporting has not been completely balanced .

 

I would like to reassure you that your concerns have been forwarded to those who need to see them and they have been noted.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

 

Kind regards

Rebecca

 

Rebecca Currie

Communications Officer

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Executive Suite, Sky Level

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

Charles Hastings Way

Worcester

WR5 1DD

 

-----Original Message-----

 

 

To: Communications

Subject: Banned Paramedic

 

Hello

 

I would like to submit my disappointment in the way that the Trust has dealt with this issue. The pressures in the Emergency Department within your hospital are no different than anywhere else in the UK and those same pressures are also applied the ambulance services. Though there maybe sadness within your ED staff that said issues have been made public they are of no surprise to most of the general public. The bond between the ambulance service and ED is strong ..it has to be because they constantly interact. Their issues are with management and your terrible overreaction will do nothing for your credibility. I feel sure that threatening a whistleblower will backfire on the Chief Executive and perhaps your Trust may suffer the indignity of more visits from the CQC, Patients Association and any other organisation concerned with patient well-being. I feel sure that the current health minister will also been informed.

 

I believe you owe this chap an apology because if you don't the Trust Board will be regarded only as bullies.

 

Regards

 

 

Unless expressly stated otherwise, the information contained in this email is confidential and is intended only for the named recipients. You must not copy, distribute, or take any action or reliance upon it. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender. Any unauthorised disclosure of the information contained in this email is strictly prohibited.

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A brilliant piece, Bobby.

 

Like you, this concerns me greatly. Hard to fathom isn't it, why when someone brings a genuine issue into the public gaze, they are treated with such hostility.

 

The procedures and protocols which management are so quick to point out, are there to protect these folk, are abandoned with ease, and the whole circus becomes little more than a modern day witch hunt.

 

So desperate are those in power to maintain that all is well, and no wrong doing or errors have occurred on "their watch" that it becomes the easy solution to lay blame at the whistle blowers door.

 

Nobody else is complaining. Nobody else is making a fuss. It is this poor individual - who only ever wanted to do the right thing - who is at fault. They must be impossible to manage...difficult, the root of the problem.

 

Yes.Much easier all round if this one individual can be held up as a shining example to the rest of the workforce, to keep your head down, see no evil, hear no evil, and never, ever speak of the evils, they may have witnessed.

 

If you do......you'll be on your own.

 

 

Dippy, you've hit the nail on the head there with your comments about "the shining example".

 

Instead of abiding by their own internal whistleblowing policy, which promises fair treatment, the miserable swine who regard themselves as 'leaders of men' find it's much easier to fire a shot across the bows of ALL OTHER MEMBERS OF STAFF, from Director all the way down the payscale to wet behind the ears apprentice.

 

A very clear and unambiguous message must be DRILLED into the minds of anybody who may be contemplating blowing the gaff...

 

 

...that they will be for the high jump, and their treatment will then be played out for all to see (most importantly your like-minded colleagues) in the media, local or national.

 

Yes, you will be held up as a shining example of "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO WHISTLEBLOWERS".

 

So, in the NHS for example, the most caring and dedicated of staff will be watching what happens to the doctor who used to work from that office or the nurse who used to work in that ward, before all of a sudden they were spirited away and weren't seen around anymore.  They disappeared in the most mysterious of circumstances.  Rumours then abound, "they got suspended and their career's over"; "they were forced to leave"; "they blew the whistle on Dr X and paid the price", all stoked up by Chinese whispers and encouraged by cowardly managers, in collusion with their lackey HR colleagues.

 

The correct response, as published and described in the best whistleblowing policies, is completely self-defeating.  If they followed it to the letter, it would be like opening the floodgates to 100s and 100s of people with grievances or complaints or whistleblows.

 

So they don't undermine the "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO WHISTLEBLOWERS" message, by ignoring their own internal policies and procedures.

 

Worse still, there's no redress at any tribunal for managers breaching their own policies.  The system is crooked to its heart.  The CQC was a crock under Cynthia Bower, and sorry for letting anyone down who isn't aware, they're in full damage limitation mode right now.  They're doing their best to cover up and head off the next hyper scandal, whatever, wherever and whenever that is.

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"The CQC was a crock under Cynthia Bower, and sorry for letting anyone down who isn't aware, they're in full damage limitation mode right now. They're doing their best to cover up and head off the next hyper scandal, whatever, wherever and whenever that is"

 

While I don't disagree that the CQC has had its issues they are all we have right now other than organisations like the Patient Association for which I was a former Ambassador. The workload has exploded not just in acute hospitals but also nursing homes. The CQC is not one person you maybe surprised to know that many of its representatives are in fact x members of hospital staff who in their own way found this a vehicle to voice their concerns rather than demonstrate the traits of a whistleblower for which there is only isolation.

 

You are not alone Paul many years ago I took issue made a costly decision in many ways and took the consequences. I have always been a maverick and sometimes it's get you into trouble. It has made me stronger I still keep an open mind and use this quote which sums life up for me....." PRINCIPLES CAN BE EXPENSIVE HOWEVER PEACE OF MIND IS PRICELESS"

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You are not alone Paul many years ago I took issue made a costly decision in many ways and took the consequences. I have always been a maverick and sometimes it's get you into trouble. It has made me stronger I still keep an open mind and use this quote which sums life up for me....." PRINCIPLES CAN BE EXPENSIVE HOWEVER PEACE OF MIND IS PRICELESS"

 

Well said!

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Whistleblowers are classed as trouble makers - not my words!  They also question the ability of the staff above them so of course they are going to be treated as nasty troublesome people.  As I have said before many senior people have the gift of the gab to get the post in the first place but not necessarily the ability to do the job.  So they rely on their junior staff to do the work and most definitely NOT cause any ripples that might expose the weaknesses of their seniors. 

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Well good news our banned paramedic has had an apology!!!! There were a lot of complaints and I for one had my say!

 

I redacted my details ( love that word).

 

Please see below.

 

 

 

Thank you for your email.

 

As I am sure you can imagine the circumstances are complicated and the media reporting has not been completely balanced .

 

I would like to reassure you that your concerns have been forwarded to those who need to see them and they have been noted.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

 

Kind regards

Rebecca

 

Rebecca Currie

Communications Officer

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Executive Suite, Sky Level

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

Charles Hastings Way

Worcester

WR5 1DD

 

-----Original Message-----

 

 

To: Communications

Subject: Banned Paramedic

 

Hello

 

I would like to submit my disappointment in the way that the Trust has dealt with this issue. The pressures in the Emergency Department within your hospital are no different than anywhere else in the UK and those same pressures are also applied the ambulance services. Though there maybe sadness within your ED staff that said issues have been made public they are of no surprise to most of the general public. The bond between the ambulance service and ED is strong ..it has to be because they constantly interact. Their issues are with management and your terrible overreaction will do nothing for your credibility. I feel sure that threatening a whistleblower will backfire on the Chief Executive and perhaps your Trust may suffer the indignity of more visits from the CQC, Patients Association and any other organisation concerned with patient well-being. I feel sure that the current health minister will also been informed.

 

I believe you owe this chap an apology because if you don't the Trust Board will be regarded only as bullies.

 

Regards

 

 

Unless expressly stated otherwise, the information contained in this email is confidential and is intended only for the named recipients. You must not copy, distribute, or take any action or reliance upon it. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender. Any unauthorised disclosure of the information contained in this email is strictly prohibited.

 

His life may now be made hell on earth.  I'm hearing from a former employee that this place is packed with psychopathic managers.

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Psychopathic! I ain't so sure this is'nt to wide off the mark. Just look at the reaction of Mr Messer. He quickly reacted and did something that a normal well balanced individual would have avoided. If Id been in Mr Messer's shoes, I might have muttered and cursed a little, but to hurtle downstairs, begging staff to tell him they were hurt and then announcing the ban from his premises gives me the impression that this man gave no thought to the consequences of his actions and subsequent public ridicule that would follow. A very strange reaction!

Look at the reaction to our own Herefordshire Council whistleblower. A corporate lack of empathy and compassion, paying out thousands of pounds to secrete the secret and having no apparent feelings of guilt. These are all traits of the psychopath. Threatening the whistleblower and bullying disabled members of staff without a glimmer of guilt and worse, orchestrating a climate of fear that eventually results in the whistleblower being branded a problem and widely accepted as being responsible for the entire chain of events.

Yes! Psychopathic behaviour isn't such a wild statement to make. Put the wrong personalities in a position of power and authority and strange things happen if someone does have a personality disorder.

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Cracking email, Green Knight.

 

With regard to the "psychopathic tendencies".....perhaps it would be an idea for those applying for positions of authority/power, to undergo some psychometric testing??? Perhaps it may give a glimpse into precisely what sort of person they really are, before they are offered the post?

 

Or perhaps, this characteristic is exactly what employers are looking for....???

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It helps Dippy. It certainly helps. There's a psychological survey somewhere which found the position of CEO to be the one most populated by psychopaths.

 

In the psychopath's defence, they're just not 'programmed' to understand the social impact of their actions.

 

Someone who'd step over a body in the road because they're late for a business appointment is precisely the person to head-hunt when you want to close that expensive disabled children's school. The one that needs striking off a spreadsheet because it's become a drain on your precious resources.

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And they all go to live on the hill. Yes they do! They can't help themselves. The higher the gradient the better as far as they're concerned. Give them some old barn that's got planning permission to be converted into a dwelling to house them, their neatly framed diplomas, their impressive wine collection and an office to sit in as they pour through their many contacts in order to fully exploit them and create even greater wealth for themselves and that's where you'll find these strange and disfunctional characters.

Yes, it's all true! Whatsmore, as they climb ever higher up the greasy promotion pole and live higher up the bloody hill, their clothing often takes on a strange transformation. Out go the belts and in come the Bracers. And not your run of the mill types either. These Bracers are often bright yellow, red or pink that proclaim, 'I no longer use a belt because I live on the hill and you'd nest treat me with the respect my high office deserves'.

Course, some of them, often the underlings who've a desire to express their unique difference and impress their masters, skip the Bracers and take to wearing the bloody Dicky Bow and like the Bracers, there's no end of bright and flamboyant colours to mark themselves out as 'one to bloody watch'. For them, it's no longer a suit off the peg. It's a trip to the Tailors where some fool will spend hours measuring them up and telling them how their fat sun tanned face slips so nicely into the clothes that they'll soon be adorned in.

Their office? Well, it's all so fairly predictable. Photographs of their loved ones are scattered across the desk reminding them that they, the ones they kissed and said goodbye to at a quarter to nine in the morning, will be waiting for them at home at five bloody thirty in the early evening and ready and willing to say, 'darling the wine has been breathing for ninety minutes and your handmade shirt is ironed and pressed for our visit to the Governors Meeting at the local School, which happens to be bloody located at the bloody bottom of this huge bloody hill they now dwell upon.

Yes! Psychotic behaviour isn't such a bad way to describe these people.

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Brilliant video Paul. I particularly like the description of the psychopath. I've lost count of the managers I've met that people think are the nicest people you could meet. They are usually well liked and well respected, people instantly believe they can do no wrong. Those around them believe it too because if they don't they have to admit they are the same. The overriding similarity between these managers is always incompetence. Organisations particularly public sector are guilty of nepotism, promoting people who are way out of their depth is what leads to the problems associated with bullying and harassment.

 

The Acas definition of bullying and harassment is below.

 

Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

Examples of bullying or harassing behaviour include:

 

spreading malicious rumours

unfair treatment

picking on someone

regularly undermining a competent worker

denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities

Bullying and harassment can happen:

 

face-to-face

by letter

by email

by phone

 

The law

Bullying itself isn’t against the law, but harassment is. This is when the unwanted behaviour is related to one of the following:

 

age

sex

disability

gender (including gender reassignment)

marriage and civil partnership

pregnancy and maternity

race

religion or belief

sexual orientation

 

Bullying and harassment doesn't usually take the form people expect and people can be bullied or harassed and not even realise it's happening.

For example if a manager distributes an email about a gay member of staff to several other members of staff within an organisation that is untrue and creates a false impression of the member of staff, this would be an example of a bullying/ harassment behaviour, particularly if people on the distribution list did not know the person was gay. A persons sexual orientation, disability, age etc. should not be used to target the individual. The person wanting to keep their sexual orientation private is suddenly treated differently because it is now widely known they are gay. People have a fundamental right to privacy in their private lives if they choose not to publicise their sexual orientation that right should be protected.

What employees should do if they’re bullied or harassed

Employees should see if they can sort out the problem informally first. If they can’t, they should talk to their:

 

manager

human resources (HR) department

trade union representative

If this doesn’t work, they can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this doesn’t work and they’re still being harassed, they can take legal action at an employment tribunal.

 

All to often the only course of redress is in the employment tribunal because organisations will not accept responsibility for the behaviour of their managers.

 

It becomes a greater problem where the person suffering the bullying and harassment can not rely on a protected characteristic.

 

The law really is an A.s.s!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I saw the piece on the news. Will this new era of enlightenment eventually fall upon the heads of all Councils who've mistreated Whistleblowers in the past?

It most certainly will. I've no doubt that this ball will run and run, it'll gather more and more momentum and the full enormity of what Councils and other agents acting on their behalf have done to the Whistleblower will come down crashing upon their heads.

If I were a Director at Hereford Council and I'd seen that piece on the news I'd be frightened. Very frightened! Now this genie is out of the bottle there'll be no ignoring it or shoving it back in.

Thinking about it rationally, there's now no better time to step forward and blow the whistle on wrongdoing. I'd do it and whoever the Council Whistleblower is I'm certain that he or she will be heartened to know that the pendulum is swinging back in their favour.

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There is a list of 'protected characteristics' that prevent employees being unfairly treated.  There is legal protection from unfair treatment due to colour, race, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, married status, age, disability and gender realignment.  There are severe penalties if this law is broken.  Perhaps deliberately, whistleblowing isn't on the list.  But if the politicians are serious, it is a change that would do most to protect whistleblowers.  And the individuals responsible for breaking that law could be held accountable. 

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There is a list of 'protected characteristics' that prevent employees being unfairly treated.  There is legal protection from unfair treatment due to colour, race, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, married status, age, disability and gender realignment.  There are severe penalties if this law is broken.  Perhaps deliberately, whistleblowing isn't on the list.  But if the politicians are serious, it is a change that would do most to protect whistleblowers.  And the individuals responsible for breaking that law could be held accountable. 

 

The politicians are not serious - at least not the ones controlling this process, and their puppetmasters in the establishment.  Our hopes will be dashed.

 

Sir Robert Francis was selected by the establishment, and is an establishment 'shill' I'm afraid. i.e. somebody who makes a pretense at investigating / seeking redress against an organisation, but is covertly connected.  It's an extremely clever wheeze.

 

Whistleblowers hold the key to unlocking the whole damn corrupt kit and caboodle that keeps us the 99% ground beneath the jackboot of the 1%.  And that stands for all global corporations and governments; not just the UK.

 

And sure as eggs is eggs, they know that and will not relinquish their dominance and their capacity to hold and abuse power for one second.

 

We will continue to be attacked when we 'step out of line' because the message needs to be transmitted directly to ALL AND SUNDRY... from CEO right down to lollipop lady...

 

"Read and watch our media outlets.  This is what will happen to you if you act on your conscience and dare to expose our crookedness."

 

And I'll be long dead before any whistleblower gets a chance at any form of redress, much less justice.

 

We've been had.

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Paul thanks for the reality check! Which made sober reading after my initial euphoria!

 

I was sucked in, nothing new I'm sucked in on a daily basis. I have lost count of the people I've trusted and believed in. Everyone has an agenda and I for one keep losing site of mine. Mine is the pursuit of integrity, I've spent a long time searching and I'm losing hope it really exists.

 

Whistleblowers are, I believe in the main, people of integrity, if people accept that they must question their own. It's much easier to take the high ground and condemn them as liars and trouble makers rather than admit you are part of something that's rotten to the core!

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Thanks Flam. Robert Francis scored a personal victory in his own personal "journey". There could be an elevation to the House of Lords courtesy of a grateful David Cameron someday soon.

 

As for the general public, patients, their families and taxpayers, he failed badly, and deliberately.

 

But all is not lost. Edna's Law can replace the useless Public Interest Disclosure Act and we can begin to protect brave whistleblowers everywhere. More here:

 

 

https://www.change.org/p/sir-robert-francis-call-for-edna-s-law-and-a-public-inquiry-into-whistleblowing?tk=DYw7NXXBVvZCD0mquobRcs-S4npUmGyvDelmOm8f2qU&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=&utm_term=

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Interesting development today regarding the sudden resignations on mass of ED Consultants within Worcestershire NHS. This one will tick all your boxes Paul...Whistleblowing,Bullying,failing to comply.

 

This one is awkward for the Trust and Government so let's see how this is spun...

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  • 2 weeks later...

GreenKnight more info on your post below

 

 

 

http://www.bromsgrovestandard.co.uk/2015/02/20/news-Government-eye-on-Alexandra-Hospital-following-resignations-127089.html

 

 

 

The following was taken from a National audit review and may explain why it's easier to resign than blow the whistle on bullying

 

Figure 2

 

Whistleblower case study: when whistleblowing arrangements fail

 

When whistleblowing goes wrong for an employee

 

A surgeon saw repeated instances of poor hospital care and bullying, where patient outcomes and safety concerns were ignored. The surgeon reported these concerns both verbally and in writing but encountered the following:

 

Management did not investigate these concerns for two years after their formal disclosure.

 

The surgeon’s concerns and identity were disclosed to colleagues by managers without permission.

 

The surgeon’s employability and academic reputation were damaged by colleagues and managers.

 

The employer and union attempted to broker a deal to avoid public scrutiny of the concerns at trial.

 

Source: National Audit Office interview with whistleblower

 

This type of behaviour is endemic in our society.

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Sometimes I get the impression that the NAO, the Public Accounts Committee and others pick up these issues when they're "flavour of the month".

 

If you wanted to be London Mayor say, it does you no harm whatsoever being seen to get active on an issue where there is genuine grassroots support.

 

It can also serve to quell any misgivings people may have been having about say, your failure to acknowledge child abuse on your patch when you were leader of say, Islington council.

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  • 11 months later...

Local news this evening report that the surgeon who turned whistleblower at an NHS hospital in Coventry, has been awarded 1.2 million pounds in compensation.

 

Dr Raj Mattu also said that in the fifteen years since he first reported his concerns over safety, no more safeguards have been put in place to protect whistle blowers. There is no way, he said, that he could recommend anyone following the path that he did.

 

He was vilified, bullied and unfairly sacked. His family and his health all suffered, and he was unable to work as a cardiologist.

 

Grim reading for anybody thinking about sticking their head above the parapet, and reporting concerns. 

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