Whistleblower resigns from NHS trust after being investigated for misconduct over public criticism
A COUNCILLOR has resigned as an NHS Governor after they launched an investigation into his misconduct for blowing the whistle on bloodstained chairs at Grimsby hospital.
Councillor Matthew Brown (Lab, Croft Baker) has resigned from his post as North East Lincolnshire Council's (NELC) representative on the Council of Governors for the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals (NLAG) NHS Foundation Trust.
Tony Hunter, chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) officially accepted the resignation this afternoon - although Mr Brown is not relinquishing his role as a councillor.
Mr Brown decided to quit the trust after it announced it was investigating him for misconduct when he blew the whistle over bloodstained chairs in the A & E department of Grimsby's Diana Princess of Wales hospital.
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Dr James Whittingham, chairman of the trust, complained that Mr Brown thought it was appropriate to "publicly criticise" the trust and take an "unauthorised photograph" – while Mr Brown believes they should investigate the real problem – the horrific state of the seats in A & E.
In a leaked email to NELC leader Chris Shaw and Mr Hunter, sent last night, he offered his resignation "with a heavy heart", and called the investigation "a waste of valuable public money".
News of the dispute was announced as Gary Walker, a former chief executive at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, broke a gagging order to voice concerns about public safety at the hospital.
Lawyers of the trust then told Mr Walker he would have to repay £500,000 paid to him in a settlement – a move which has now been slammed by Government Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Brown has also refused to be gagged by the trust and has vowed to continue to campaign for proper healthcare standards for the people of North East Lincolnshire.
Speaking after the resignation, he said: "My personal policy is to do everything to the best of my ability and I feel that I can't do that on the Council of Governors if, whenever I make a criticism, the NHS try to clip my wings."
NLAG NHS Foundation Trust, who are investigating Mr Brown for misconduct, are themselves being investigated because of high mortality rates at Grimsby Hospital.
This was announced following a high-profile report which revealed "the appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of patients" at Stafford Hospital.
Mr Brown added: "The trust seem to be more concerned with suppressing whistle blowers than actually addressing the genuine concerns about standards in our hospitals.
"This investigation into my conduct is a great waste of public money which is extremely valuable with ever-shrinking budgets and would be better invested in providing frontline services.
"I feel I can serve the people of this area better as a councillor than if I am not bound by the shackles of being part of the trust – which makes no sense."