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Regulator investigates lawyers acting for NHS trust over ‘gagging’ clauses

Lawyers acting for an NHS trust are being investigated over “gagging” clauses proposed in a settlement agreement with a whistleblower who raised concerns that mistakes by paramedics in the deaths of patients were being covered up.

In June, the then health secretary, Sajid Javid, announced an NHS review into “tragic failings” by North East Ambulance Service after Paul Calvert went public with claims that reports into deaths were doctored to cover up failings by staff.

The Guardian has learned that NEAS’s lawyers, Ward Hadaway, are also under scrutiny – by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – over the terms proposed by the trust for his exit agreement. The agreement, offering him £41,000 in compensation, initially included confidentiality clauses relating to future disclosures.

A SRA investigation does not mean there has been wrongdoing and it does not confirm or deny whether it is examining a solicitor. However, the Guardian understands that the regulator has been in contact with Calvert about the proposed agreement.

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Source: The Guardian, 3 November 2022


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