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WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.
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Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Scourging of Margaret Heywood

This is horrifying. It is beyond belief that the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing (UKCC) can strike off a professional colleague for doing all she can to expose malpractice and uphold the rights of vulnerable patients. What sort of human values are they supposed to be espousing and what messages are they giving to practising nurses?

As I wrote in ‘Whistleblowing in the Social Services - Public Accountability and Professional Practice’ (Arnold, 1998): “The Royal College of Nursing’s report entitled ‘Whistleblow: Nurses Speak Out’ states that ‘Under the terms of their professional code of conduct nurses can be struck off the professional register for failing to report concerns about standards of care...(UKCC) states in its Code of Professional Conduct: ‘Each registered nurse, midwife and health visitor shall act, at all times, in such a manner as to: safeguard and promote the interests of individual patients and clients; serve the interests of society; justify public trust and confidence; and uphold and enhance the good standing and reputation of the professions.”

Margaret Heywood, after several attempts to make her concerns known through her management chain was clearly doing just that in the only way left to her - and she unarguably did extremely important and effective work exposing the malpractice and abuse in the environment she secretly filmed - and, retrospective or not, consents were given by the patients and families involved.

And I was surprised and dismayed to hear the TV statement of Karen Jennings, the UNISON lead for Health and a well-liked and respected colleague on the inaugural ‘Freedom to Care’ group in the early 1990s which campaigned hard against the repressive policies of the then Health Minister Virginia Bottomley and out of which came the abovementioned RCN report. Karen said something like: ‘It is incumbent on managers to listen to whistleblowers’ concerns and act on them.’ Knowing and admiring Karen’s views in our work with Freedom to Care, 17 years ago she was very well aware that managers do all they can to either throw up barriers to whistleblowers or bury the concerns as soon as the whistleblower has left the room. (one of the many flaws in the Public Interest Disclosure Act that she helped to point out) In the intervening years I’m sure she has experienced a consolidation of that.

So, like Graham Pink, another Freedom to Care colleague of that era, Margaret Heywood is the victim of those organisations and their managers who will do all they can to avoid being held accountable for their malpractices and abuses.

My admiration and applause for you Margaret - you should be recognised as a national hero.

1 comment:

Fellow Nurse and Supporter said...

As Graham Pink found out when he blew the whistle almost 20 years ago in Stockport, the culture of blame is alive and well; except it is blame the nurse, not anyone else. I wish Margaret good luck in everything she does; I would be prould to work with her as a nurse myself, as I know what she stands for, and why; care, and dignity; because she cares. It`s that simple. To be struck off the NMC is awful; that verdict is usually reserved for people who abuse patients, assault them, contribute to their death, etc!!! The NMC has lost an experienced, caring professional.

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