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Hospital told to stop threatening whistleblower

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has demanded answers over the case of an NHS whistleblower threatened with dismissal after raising concerns about death rates. Mrs Haynes Kirkbright, a ‘health coder’, was suspended after accusing Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust of manipulating records and hiring her in the belief she would do the same. The NHS worker received a letter from the hospital saying she had breached her contract by talking to the Press, and warning that she faced a hearing which ‘may result in formal disciplinary action, not excluding dismissal’.

After Mr Hunt met urgently with hospital watchdogs to demand an investigation into the case, managers at Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust were later instructed to postpone any planned action against Mrs Kirkbright.

In a letter to Mr Hunt, David Flory, chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority, wrote:

“I have today written to the chief executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, David Laughton, asking him to clarify what action the Trust has taken to address the whistle blowing allegations and to assure us that any further action they plan does not impede Mrs Haynes Kirkbright’s rights as a whistleblower.”

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