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Urgent inquiry ordered into 'witch-hunt' at West Suffolk hospital

The government has ordered an urgent inquiry into the local hospital of the health secretary, Matt Hancock, after the Guardian revealed its unprecedented “witch-hunt” for a whistleblower.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has told NHS England to commission a “rapid review” of the actions of bosses at West Suffolk hospital.

They are under fire for demanding that staff give fingerprints and samples of their handwriting to help identify who wrote to a family alerting them to failings in care that contributed to a patient’s death.

Unusually, the investigation has been instigated by Edward Argar, a junior minister at the DHSC, because Hancock and another health minister, Jo Churchill, are both local MPs who have close ties to the hospital.

Argar has made clear to NHS England that the inquiry must be undertaken by independent experts, given those existing relationships.

Announcing the review, Argar made clear that he wanted hospital personnel to speak openly. “I want all staff to feel that they can speak up and have the confidence that anything they raise will be taken seriously,” he said.

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Source: The Guardian, 28 January 2020


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