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.
Life & Style blogs
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS Association doesn't yet know what to do with all of the money raised
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
The best gowns on the red carpet of 2014 Venice Film Festival
Postpartum psychosis: How Jessica Pidsley was driven to the edge by the rare illness
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Manager - Near...
£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...
£55000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Corporate Marketing Communications M...