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Mental health worker speaks out over poor patient care

Gillian (not her real name) worked for the NHS for over 20 years. She worked with patients with acute mental illness.

Gillian had concerns about poor patient care. This included poor communication, a failure to engage with vulnerable patients, nurses turning up to work late and leaving early, nurses falling asleep on shift, and low staff levels. Gillian also witnessed one nurse force feeding a patient. Gillian tried to stop the nurse at the time, who refused, leaving Gillian with the only option of taking the food from the nurse.

Gillian raised her concerns with her Head of Department and, when her concerns were not addressed, with the Chairman of the hospital. She followed the whistleblowing policy and raised her concerns internally on at least four separate occasions.

One week after Gillian’s fourth attempt to raise her concerns, she was suspended with immediate effect. Allegations had been made against her that she had made racist remarks. These accusations came from a group of nurses, including the nurse Gillian reported for force-feeding and close friends of the Head of Department who had completely ignored Gillian’s concerns when she had raised them with her. Gillian strongly denied these accusations during the investigation and believe they had been orchestrated as no evidence was given to substantiate them.

A couple of months later, Gillian was dismissed on the balance of probability that she did make these remarks. Gillian believes that these were spurious allegations made against her because she had been raising serious patient safety concerns. Gillian appealed her dismissal which was unsuccessful.

Gillian loved her job with the NHS and is devastated her career has ended in this way.

Unsatisfied that her concerns were not dealt with at the time, Gillian has since escalated them to the CCG. She has been told that her concerns have been investigated and have been taken very seriously. The CCG has made a number of proposals, one of which is a series of site visits from the CCG Quality Team to assess the quality department’s services.