A group of NHS whistleblowers who claim their lives have been ruined have written to a senior health department official demanding a judge-led inquiry into their cases.
The six, who include Dr David Drew from Walsall and Dr Raj Mattu from Coventry, say that, although they raised concerns out of genuine interest in patient safety, they were targeted, ostracised and driven out.
They now want their cases to be reopened. Though some have subsequently been vindicated, none have returned to their former jobs.
Dr Mattu last month won an employment tribunal against his suspension and sacking from the Walsgrave Hospital after warning that patients dying on an overcrowded cardiac unit.
It has been estimated the cost to the NHS of fighting his case of unfair dismissal, together with the payout, could top £20 million.
The case has already cost around £10 million as he was suspended on full pay for eight years and, because of his high performance, the trust was forced to employ two locum consultants to cover for him.
Documents submitted by the cardiologist's legal team show he has submitted a claim for damages of more than £6.5 million, on the grounds that at 54, after more than a decade without practising as a doctor, he is unlikely to work again.
Last month, an employment tribunal ruled he had been unfairly dismissed on grounds of disability after he was too ill to attend a disciplinary hearing because he was suffering from an auto-immune condition.
This means there is no limit on the level of compensation which can be awarded by the judges.
Dr Drew, 66, a paediatrician whose 37-year career was ruined after he voiced concerns about bullying and staff shortages, has also called on Simon Stevens, the new chief executive of the NHS, to change radically how the health service handles serious complaints from its staff in future.
The six have written to Charlie Massey, director of strategy and external relations for the Department of Health, whom Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell has also contacted, urging their cases to be reopened.
Dr Drew, a Christian, was targeted when he emailed a prayer to his colleagues, hoping it would be motivational.
An investigation was started and a review panel told him to "keep his religious beliefs to himself".
When he refused to accept the findings, he was sacked from Walsall Manor Hospital where he worked as a clinical director.
Father-of-four Dr Drew said he believed the email had simply been used to get rid of him due to his concerns over practices at the hospital.
He had questioned heating failures which affected babies' health, child safety on wards, understaffing and bullying.
Dr Drew told the Post: "So many people have had their lives absolutely ruined by the NHS and its attitude towards whistleblowers.
"They are doing everything they can to ignore us because I think they know the findings of any inquiry would be incredibly damning about their actions. It would also be electoral dynamite in any election.
"I think we are getting close to overcoming government resistance to an inquiry into NHS whistleblowing."
The letter to Mr Massey said: "We are all senior NHS professionals who, as a result of raising concerns in our organisations, lost our jobs and in some cases our careers.
"We write following the tribunal judgement in favour of Dr Raj Mattu last week and against NHS University Hospital Coventry and Warwick.
"His vindication as an NHS whistleblower has come after 13 years and has cost the taxpayer between £6 and £10 million.
"His award is expected to be up to £10 million. This shows the extent to which senior NHS managers are willing to pursue whistleblowers and the costs to an already financially challenged service.
"It is quite clear that historic whistleblowers, who have been disposed of by disciplinary procedures, have had no opportunity to get justice for their mistreatment by senior management. The Department of Health is yet to remedy this situation.
"We have all suffered employment, reputational and financial loss. Some of us have had significant health problems and we have all endured prolonged periods of severe stress. We would like our cases investigated and remedied at the earliest opportunity."
Mr Massey said the government and NHS were taking the concerns seriously but could give no concrete undertaking.
He wrote: "Your questions are far reaching and have significant potential implications. It is not straightforward to give you an immediate response, especially given these are complex cases which have already been through a variety of legal processes.
"But I would like to assure you the questions you raise are ones we take very seriously and the recommendation on historic whistleblowers is one which continues to be considered very carefully indeed.
"I will write again to you as soon as I am in a position to give you that fuller considered response."