NHS Apology Given To West London Mental Health Whistleblower

The most prominent mental health trust in the UK has been forced to admit wrongdoing over its treatment of a whistleblower who spoke out over alleged bullying and harassment occurring at the trust. The NHS has now acknowledged that Dr Hayley Dare’s claims were made in good faith and in the interest of the public.

 

Dr Dare spoke out about a culture of bullying and harassment occurring at 32 institutions currently operated by the West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which includes locations such as Broadmoor high-security hospital. The claims were rejected and even mocked by NHS bosses when Dr Dare first made her claims in 2013.

 

During a conversation with trust officials, Dr Dare was referred to as a “very disturbed woman” by chief executive Mr Steve Shrubb, who then made unflattering comparisons between the doctor and his own ex-wife in a verbal tirade designed to undermine her credibility both personally and professionally. During the recent tribunal Mr Shrubb apologised for his comments.
The NHS spent a total of £130,000 during its effort to refute the claim even though the organisation admitted it has numerous bullying and harassment issues existing at its facilities around the UK.

 

Official NHS staff surveys released in 2012 and 2013 clearly show that out of the 51 NHS mental health trusts, the West London Mental Health NHS Trust has by far the poorest records in regards to violence happening against staff due to0 the actions of both patients and colleagues.

 

This includes nearly a twelfth of all employees who experience a case of physical violence at the hands of a peer. Other results show that 30% of staff at the trust were bullied or harassed in some way during 2013, and that 26% of these cases include acts of discriminative behaviour.

 

Dr Dare originally lost her tribunal case in September 2014 as a result of a legal technicality that prevented her claims from being considered to have been made in in good faith. However, this technicality was removed from UK employment law since then.

 

Following the initial ruling the NHS sought to win back the costs it accrued during the legal process, which meant that Dr Dare would have been made to pay back as much as £100,000. However, this was prevented from becoming a reality when judge ruled this unfair at a second tribunal held shortly after the original ruling last year.

 

With the technicality now void the trust has been forced to admit that Dr Dare “made a disclosure in the public interest about the bullying and harassment of the staff of the [trust] and that this disclosure was made in good faith”.

 

The trust also paid Dr Dare £10,000 in reparation for the financial costs she paid during her legal struggle.

 

After the tribunal verdict Dr Dare spoke of her relief:

“I can’t quite express how overwhelmed I feel. This has always been about patient care and staff welfare, which is what whistleblowing should always be about. I never deviated from that so I feel exonerated at last. The trust has spent an obscene amount of taxpayers’ money fighting me. I never acted in bad faith and that was what the case was all about. This has always been about my integrity and the fact that I raised concerns about patient care as a clinician. If you bully staff, patient care will be affected.”

 

Dr Dare also expressed hope that the result of this case could help other employees gain the confidence to speak out about NHS corruption. With 3,160 staff currently working in the West London Mental Health NHS Trust, and with approximately 700,000 patients being cared for, there is concern that there are many other cases of bullying and harassment being overlooked.

 

Despite the trust acknowledging Dr Dare’ made her claim in good faith, the organisation did not give a full apology and pointed out that there are a “number of ways in which staff can raise concerns safely” which she should have undertaken before launching an external legal evaluation.

Homosexual Priest Loses Sexuality Discrimination Claim

A gay clergyman who claims he was denied the right to become a hospital chaplain after marrying his lover has lost a discrimination case against the Church of England. Canon Jeremy Pemberton claims that in addition to being denied career opportunities he was also harassed by his bishop, Richward Inwood, due to his personal dislike of homosexuality rather than acting on behalf of the Church of England as claimed.

Canon Pemberton believes that such treatment was in breach of his human rights and violates the UK 2010 Equality Act that grants him the right to officiate as a priest and possess a licence for chaplaincy; a qualification that would have allowed him to work as a bereavement manager at Sherwood NHS.

At tribunal, bishop Inwood, who is the incumbent bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, denied discriminating against Canon Pemberton on personal grounds and stated he was acting in accordance with church doctrine that forbids same-sex marriage.

Tribunal verdict

The Nottingham employment tribunal ruled in favour of bishop Inwood and has supported his decision on grounds that there are a number of alternative options available which would allow Canon Pemberton’s relationship with his partner, Mr Lawrence Cunnington, to be officially recognised by the Church of England, such as entering into a civil partnership.

Canon Pemberton’s legal team dismissed these options by arguing that such alternatives do not prevent discrimination, as they still deny Canon Pemberton and his partner the right to a conventional marriage; a union the two believe should be made available to them as it would any heterosexual couple.

During the tribunal proceedings the judge heard how Canon Pemberton had previously been married to a woman with whom he travelled with while working as a priest. It was revealed that Pemberton did not recognise his true sexuality until 2006 after he suffered a mental breakdown before divorcing his wife and resigning his position at his ministry.

By 2008 Canon Pemberton was in an openly homosexual relationship with his future husband. During that same year he swore the oath of canonical obedience to his bishop and became a licensed community chaplain in the Southwell and Nottingham diocese.

Verdict reactions

Reacting to the verdict, Canon Pemberton stated “We are obviously very disappointed. Our lawyers have considered the judgement and are in the process of preparing the grounds of appeal for submission to the Employment Appeal Tribunal”. He also expressed gratitude to the public who have shown support for his case throughout the proceedings.

The tribunal verdict was well received by the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. A spokesman for the organisation released a statement:

“We are thankful to the tribunal for its work on this complex case and for its findings in favour of the Right Rev Richard Inwood, on all the claims made against him. We recognise that it has been a long and difficult process for all concerned, and we continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers […] We remain engaged in the on-going shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality”