A Midland whistleblower, who claims he was hounded out of the NHS after highlighting concerns, has welcomed a package of measures aiming to create an open and honest reporting culture.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced an independent review to “boost safety and transparency and openness” in the NHS.
The move follows a string of cases where people who have highlighted serious failings have been hounded out of the health service.
Mr Hunt told MPs in the Commons that Sir Robert Francis would be chairing the review and it would provide advice and recommendations “to ensure NHS workers can speak up without fear of retribution”.
He said: “The review will also look at how we can ensure that where NHS whistleblowers have been mistreated there are appropriate remedies for staff and accountability for those mistreating them.”
Dr David Drew, 66, a paediatrician, saw his career destroyed after he voiced concerns about bullying and staff shortages. He 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.
He said: “I was told that my case will be one of a small number that will be examined in the review.
“This follows a meeting that I had with Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens last week as part of a group of six NHS whistle-blowers who had been dismissed and Dr Raj Mattu.
“I understand that the purpose of the review is to consider what further action is necessary to protect NHS workers who speak out in the public interest and help to create the kind of open culture that is needed to ensure safe care for patients. My only comment is ‘about time’.”