GMC investigates senior Department of Health manager over claims she put targets ahead of patient safety

 

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.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

    £50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

    Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive

    £20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Finance / Accounts Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss