13 April 2010
Surgeon issues whistleblowing warning
A senior surgeon who recently won a landmark legal case to save his reputation after he blew the whistle on cost-cutting measures has issued a warning.
In an interview with the Independent, Ramon Niekrash stated that health professionals need to think "very hard" before they risk their careers arguing against management decisions which they believe jeopardise patient care.
He said: "Your employer won't thank you; the law won't protect you. You're on your own."
The medical expert had raised concerns over what he perceived to be bad management practices which were putting people's health at risk at a London hospital.
He claimed that money and targets come first among NHS bosses and clinicians who act on their conscience will not be protected.
Ramon Niekrash's solicitor Arpita Dutt at Russell Jones & Walker commented: "Mr Niekrash's case raises a very important public interest issue.
"It is not acceptable for employers to try to silence an employee raising genuine whistleblowing concerns.
"While it is encouraging that Mr Niekrash has won this claim, it is of real concern that serious problems about safety within NHS trusts and hospitals that should be exposed and dealt with are not because staff are afraid that they will be victimised if they raise their concerns with senior management.
"With further cuts to budgets likely, it is likely that the pressures that lead to compromises in safety will only increase. Mr Niekrash's case is, I am sure, the tip of an iceberg."