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1

1 October 2013
A whistleblower's
Orwellian
nightmare

Rab Wilson

Rab Wilson

I was nurse in charge of a psychiatric intensive care unit on a nightshift on 26 September 2006. The fact that I was on duty on that night changed my life irrevocably and forever. A dangerous patient had absconded due to incompetence on the dayshift. This had gone unnoticed. I discovered he was missing and managed the whole critical incident.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran then held a critical incident inquiry into this event. I was the main witness. I was not called to the inquiry. Thus began a six year odyssey that has been an Orwellian/ Kafkaesque nightmare for me and my family.

I asked for a copy of the critical incident report. This was denied to me. I eventually legally obtained an un-redacted copy of this report. The report was a whitewash and a cover-up, framing and blaming an innocent nurse without her knowledge of this. This was now almost a year after the original incident. I decided to report this to the managers who led the inquiry. My reward for this? I was fitted up and framed and accused of 'bullying, harassment and intimidation'. My crime? I was accused of carrying out my own 'personal investigation'.

After three months suspension I threatened to go public with my story to the newspapers and the whole matter was mysteriously dropped. I took NHS A&A to a stage three grievance to make them admit I should have been given a copy of the report. My grievance was not upheld.

This was four years after the original incident. I then decided to ask for copies of all critical incident reports and their action plans going back five years. I did this via a freedom of information request. NHS Ayrshire and Arran told me that they 'held no action plans' and refused to give me the reports. The Scottish FoI commissioner Kevin Dunion instructed NHS Ayrshire and Arran to give me the material. NHS Ayrshire and Arran then, months later, said that the action plans had suddenly turned up.

A famous and landmark decision notice was published by the FoI commissioner. This was the most damning report of his seven years in office. The event was front page news and I was completely vindicated. One of the happiest days of my life.

There were more than 20 deaths of patients in these reports. No organisational learning took place from any of the critical incidents. No disciplinary action has yet been taken by anyone to hold the directors responsible to account for this catastrophic and fatal scandal despite an equally damning report by Health Improvement Scotland, the government watchdog. The new CEO of NHS Ayrshire and Arran said that no individual was to blame because the whole thing was 'a systems issue'.

I took an early retirement package from NHS Ayrshire and Arran. I now campaign as an NHS whistleblower. In the light of Hillsborough, Mid-Staffs and most recently the Morecambe Bay Trust scandal, I am pursuing justice at NHS Ayrshire and Arran. I have recently provided Sir Stephen House and Police Scotland with a massive dossier of evidence and a detailed statement containing my allegations. My story can be seen and heard on You Tube under 'Rab Wilson NHS Whistleblower'.

It is my hope is that if there is any justice left in our land, senior directors and managers at NHS Ayrshire and Arran will be indicted and will face charges of possible involuntary manslaughter due to criminal negligence. The question is, though, why should a battle so vitally important as this be left to one publicly-minded individual?

Rab Wilson is a campaigner and poet