David Hands is a visiting Professor in Health Policy and Management in the University of Glamorgan who has repeatedly tried, since 2006, to get a proper independent investigation of allegations of institutionalised bullying at Northamptonshire Healthcare specialist mental health trust. Hands was interim Chief Executive in 1991/2 and 1996/7 and was a Governor of the current Foundation Trust until 2009. He has reported his concerns in detail to the Trust, Sir David Nicholson, East Midlands Strategic Health Authority, the CQC, Monitor and Andrew Lansley.
In January 2007, Nicholson asked the SHA to establish a ʻreviewʼ to consider some of the issues Hands had identified. It was chaired by Chris Hannah, a former SHA Chief Executive, and the business partner of Neil Goodwin, another former SHA Chief Executive and friend of Nicholson. It was held in private and, despite assurances to the contrary, did not seek evidence from any of the 70 Trust staff who were alleged to be either victims or perpetrators of bullying or clinical malpractice (or both). The review found no case to answer, but Hands is adamant that these issues haven’t been thoroughly investigated. However the regulators, the department of health and Lansley’s office just aren’t interested. Hands has now submitted his evidence to the Mid Staffs Inquiry.
If a professor of health management and former CEO with 45 years experience can’t get his concerns taken seriously, imagine how hard for those lower down to blow the whistle?