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NHS nurse sacked after warning increased workload on staff led to patient's death

A senior NHS nurse was fired after warning the increased workload on her pressured staff had contributed to a patient’s death.

Linda Fairhall, 60, had an unblemished record of almost 40 years’ service when she turned whistleblower at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS trust. In 2015 she raised concerns over a new requirement for district nurses to monitor patients’ prescriptions. She said it meant a sudden increase of around 1,000 extra visits a month for her hard-pressed team of 50 nurses with no extra resources.

Over the next 10 months she reported 13 matters, alleging the health or safety of patients and staff was being or was likely to be put at risk.

After a patient died in 2016 she claimed it may have been prevented if her concerns had been addressed. She told the trust’s care group director Julie Parks she wished to start the formal whistle-blowing procedure. Soon after she was suspended over allegations of potential gross misconduct relating to her leadership, and then sacked.

Dr Henrietta Hughes, the UK’s national NHS guardian, said: “Workers who speak up should be thanked for doing so and the organisation should demonstrate they are taking action to address the issues raised.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust said it will appeal the decision.

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Source: The Mirror, 2 March 2020


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