NHS ‘gagging case’ reinforces ‘stronger whistleblowing’ call

NHS ‘gagging' case reinforces ‘stronger whistleblowing’ call

14 February 2013

The case of the NHS boss ‘gagged’ over patient safety concerns reinforces the case for stronger whistleblowing systems being introduced urgently, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Thursday 14 February).

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The chickens are coming home to roost for those that presided over a culture of fear and bullying across the NHS.

“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt needs to set up a system of robust whistleblowing procedures immediately in light of last week’s Francis report and this latest shameful gagging episode. Gagging clauses should be outlawed.”

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, was responding to the background revealed by Gary Walker to his sacking as chief executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.

Rachael Maskell said: “The Gary Walker case comes as managers at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust are trying to silence Unite from raising patient safety concerns by derecognising the union.”

Last week, Unite called for the resignation of the NHS chief executive Sir David Nicolson in the light of the Francis report.

Rachael Maskell said: “Today, we call again for Sir David Nicolson, at last, to accept that he has presided over a culture of fear and bullying in the NHS in recent years and that he acknowledges that this regime, which has damaged patient care, has been cruelly exposed. He should resign.”


For further information please contact Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health, on 07768 693933 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.