My response to Department of Health re Misconduct
2nd April 2019
Dear Ms Hermanstein,
In reply to your email of today, ref DE-1162331,
You state, “I am writing in response to your complaint about the way that the Department has handled your correspondence, with
specific regard to the points you raise in your letters of 9 November and 7 January and your letters of 2 and 25
February. I will address your points in turn.”
My Response. I have been consistently raising these same serious concerns since March 2017, a period of over 2 years. I note you have chosen not to mention the numerous letters I have written, but only refer to four letters and these do not include a stated year. I can only conclude this is a tactic to mislead, as acknowledging just how many letters I have sent over the two-year time frame would not reflect well on you.
You state “I understand that you feel that the Department could have dealt with your correspondence better. I am aware that my
colleague Alan Addison explained to you that it appears that at least one of your letters appears to have been mislaid
during the time of the 2017 election”
My Response. Again this is simply not credible, due to the sheer amount of correspondence involved and the continued efforts made between March 2017 to the current day. You have repeatedly tried to fob me off with replys that amounted to statements of policy, which has meant that I have had to spend considerable time and effort in repeating the concerns over and over again. If there was any doubt whatsoever, then your email today merely corroborates my view, that you have chosen to ignore the issues and, as such, repeatedly compounded the original concerns.
You state “Given that Sir Robert was acting
independently, and that the Francis Inquiry closed in 2013 we do not feel this instance warrants any further
investigation by either the CQC or DHSC.”
My Response. The Robert Francis inquiry closed in November 2014 and published its report in February 2015. I can only presume the dates you incorrectly refer to are indicative of the incompetent investigation you have carried out to date.
Ignored concerns. Breach of confidentiality by Andrea Sutcliffe and David Behan, both of whom were given honours by your Department in the two-year period in which you were meant to be investigating the concerns raised about these individuals. I have also contacted the Cabinet office, who refer me back to you.
The heavily redacted email (provided in the evidence submitted to you), which clearly shows Ms Sutcliffe had been in contact with Des Kelly, my former employer, is clearly an action that breaches confidentiality and is evidence of causing ongoing detriment to a whistle-blower in their future employment.
The 47 whistle-blowers whose names were given to their employers by CQC seem to have also slipped your mind.
You state “I would like to pass on the Department’s apologies that Compassion in Care’s contribution to the Report of the Mid
Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry was not recognised. This was an independent inquiry and report;
however, the Department feels it is important to acknowledge all those who contribute, and to thank them for taking
the time to do so.”
My Response. I did not give evidence to this inquiry, your statement therefore can only be viewed as further incompetence.
“Care home registration”, page 2, paragraphs 1 to 8; the entire section has nothing whatsoever to do with the concerns raised. If this is what you and CQC have been investigating, then you are both grossly inept, whilst you have completely ignored the points I have raised.
Page 3. Neither have I raised these issues regarding “Orchard Care”
You state “As you will appreciate, this can be a complex area. I would also recommend you contact the Department for
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which holds policy responsibility for many of the issues you raise, in
particular any regulations in place to stop the directors of a failed business from starting up a new one
Given the number of cases, and that the responsibility for this lies with the CQC, it would not be appropriate for each”
case discussed within the report to receive individual feedback.”
My Response. Also totally unrelated to the matters I have raised, a fact upheld by numerous internal emails obtained by the journalist Niels Ladefoged from the CQC. My concerns are fully upheld by the evidence I have provided, much of which is in the form of emails between your Department and CQC dealing with the individuals cases, which you now state you cannot deal with. This evidence was obtained via subject access law.
Finally, you refer to my telephone conversation with your colleague Alan Addison; I would remind you that this conversation commenced with the assertion that,
“Robert Francis did not give any undertaking of confidentiality to those submitting evidence to his whistle-blowing inquiry”
to which I responded by reading to Mr Addison the confidentiality policy. Mr Addison replied, “Where did you obtain this document?”
I replied, “The Departments of Health website page for the Francis review”.
I can only presume this was an excuse as to why you could not act, which of course had no validity.
My complaint and all the evidence and correspondence are now being referred to the PHSO, not that we are under any illusion as to their impartiality or competency. However, as this is likely to be an extremely high-profile case, we stand more chance than most.
It saddens me that you have chosen to take such a stance, because at the heart of the issues of concern is the suffering of vulnerable people. We would as a country appear to allow our government, institutions and regulators to act with impunity in obstructing, excusing and failing to act with integrity or transparency. The result is that those with no voice continue to pay the price of such failings.
We as a charity have always taken the view that such abuse and those who aid and abet perpetrators and, by taking part in this culture of self-preservation, spin and, should be openly challenged.
The fact remains that loss of life and suffering continue and lessons are not being learnt, because all efforts are put into defending the indefensible.