Damned either way: doctors speaking up or soldiering on

We’re looking for your support to appeal the recent decision in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It raises a critical question for the NHS: should the managers behind unsafe systems float above the law, but doctors get smashed in court whether they speak up for patient safety or soldier on under unsafe conditions?

The importance of my appeal for the medical profession and for patient safety is explained in these two speeches in 2018 in Brighton and in 2014 in Harrogate.

In my case, I spoke up about an unsafe system that led to the deaths of Caitlyn Parry and others. The managers are evading scrutiny, by hiding adverse reports and misleading Parliament with false claims that the concerns are baseless.

In a separate case, Dr Bawa Garba took the other choice. She soldiered on in an unsafe system, but it was her and not her managers who faced police investigation and conviction for the manslaughter of Jack Adcock.

When it’s unsafe to soldier on, doctors need to be able to speak out. When managers untruthfully deny and deflect, doctors need to be able to speak out to the press as a last resort. The inquiries into Gosport War Memorial Hospital and into the Hyponatraemia deaths both highlighted the vital role of the press in bringing forward issues that NHS managers wanted to ignore. We now need the courts to recognise this – and start protecting whistleblowing doctors – by having the courage to hold their managers accountable.

Until this happens, NHS managers will remain free to turn patient harm into pay-offs, rather than learning – as described in the two speeches above. Please share and contribute here.

Very best wishes

Dr Ed Jesudason

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