NHS Disciplinary is a “kangaroo court”

NHS disciplinary procedures have been blamed for driving an award winning Nurse to suicide.

A group of lawyers claims that health service tribunals are “kangaroo courts”. They allege that Amin Abdullah was put under such intense pressure that he committed suicide by setting himself alight outside Kensington Palace in February.

According to John Hendy, QC, the lawyer who represented Graham Pink, one of the first health service whistleblowers, NHS disciplinary proceedings are “often used as a tool to crush dissent and in particular, whistleblowing, amongst medical staff”.

Abdullah killed himself days before an internal appeal hearing after being sacked by Charing Cross Hospital in west London.

He claimed that he had been dismissed after signing a petition in support of a colleague who was the subject of a complaint by a patient. Abdullah had also written an open letter to senior hospital staff in which he described the patient as a “professional complainer”.

Campaigners for an inquiry into the circumstances around the nurse’s suicide recently delivered a coffin to the Department of Health with a picture of Abdullah.
The nurse was a former winner of the Hannah Evans Award for Clinical Excellence, an award from the League of Charing Cross Hospital Nurses given each year to recognise excellence in student nurses.

Paul Gilroy, QC, who also specialises in disciplinary cases and whistleblowing in the NHS, said: “A coroner will soon be inquiring into the circumstances which led a dedicated nurse, at the peak of his professional powers, to take his own life in such an appalling manner. Beyond the inquest verdict, it may be necessary for there to be some form of inquiry into those circumstances in order to minimise the risk of such a tragic outcome occurring again”.

Arpita Dutt, a partner with the law firm Brahams Dutt Badrick and a whistleblowing case specialist, said Abdullah’s case “chimes with so many NHS cases I’ve handled, especially the vindictive behaviour of NHS managers in the disciplinary process.

“I’ve seen so many NHS staff suffer significant damage to their mental health just going through the disciplinary system. And Amin’s story shows just how real an issue this is – and how dire the consequences can be. Something needs to be done – and urgently. The whole NHS disciplinary process needs a complete overhaul and the worst offenders in management need to be brought to account.”

 

Terry Skitmore, Amin's partner, and Dr Narinder Kapur stage a "symbolic protest" in the form of a coffin with a message attached outside the Department of Health in London. Marked For the Attention Of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, demanding he take action to address fatal damage being done by an oppressive and opaque internal culture at the NHS, and highlighting the tragic plight of award-winning nurse Amin Abdullah who was driven to despair, and ultimately suicide, when he became the victim of an unfair and discriminatory NHS disciplinary process.

Terry Skitmore, Amin’s partner, and Dr Narinder Kapur stage a “symbolic protest” in the form of a coffin with a message attached outside the Department of Health in London. Marked For the Attention Of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, demanding he take action to address fatal damage being done by an oppressive and opaque internal culture at the NHS, and highlighting the tragic plight of award-winning nurse Amin Abdullah who was driven to despair, and ultimately suicide, when he became the victim of an unfair and discriminatory NHS disciplinary process.

Source: The Times

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