GMC investigates senior Department of Health manager over claims she put targets ahead of patient safety
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 14 February 2013
A senior Department of Health manager is under investigation by the General Medical Council over allegations that she ordered a hospital trust to hit its waiting list targets “whatever the demand.”
Dame Barbara Hakin, director of commissioning at the Department of Health and a GP, is alleged to have issued the order to the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, putting patient safety at risk, in her former role as chief executive of the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority.
The complaint was made to the GMC last year by the Private Eye columnist Dr Phil Hammond, who was responsible for exposing the Bristol children’s heart surgery scandal in the 1990s.
Today Dr Hammond said the complaint was “active and ongoing, and at a senior level.” He added: “But the GMC moves at the speed of a glacier.”
Gary Walker, former chief executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, who was sacked in 2010, today breached the terms of a gagging clause in his £500,000 severance agreement to speak out about the pressure he was put under for the first time.
He accused NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson and senior NHS leaders of putting targets ahead of patient safety and said he warned them of the dangers after he joined the United Lincolnshire Trust in 2006.
“By April 2009 demand [at the trust] was out of control and fearing patients were coming to harm, I explained to Barbara Hakin that I was going to get an external review into mortality. I was told to resign or my 20-year NHS career would be in tatters,” he said in a statement.
The trust was last week named as one of 14 with high mortality rates being investigated in the wake of the Francis report which exposed appalling care between 2005 and 2009 at the scandal-hit Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.
The SHA said yesterday it “totally refuted” Mr Walker’s claims and had always acted “in the interests of patients”. The Department of Health said Mr Walker’s allegations had been independently investigated and “found to be without merit.” The GMC said it could not comment on an individual case.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Life & Style blogs
The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
The 50 Best Christmas Gifts for Women
PS4 beats Xbox One to become UK’s fastest ever selling console
UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314
Tippy the Fainting Squirrel becomes YouTube star as video of cute collapsing rodent goes viral
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314
- 4 Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts
- 5 I’m sure Kate Moss doesn't care about posing for Playboy. But I do
£50000 - £70000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: SQL 2008 R2/2012 Deve...
£38000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Creative Audit Se...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, P...