• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

UK News

Whistleblowers expose safety concerns at Sussex Hospital

Representational image (iStock)

Pramod ThomasBy: Pramod Thomas

A scandal has erupted at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, with allegations of a cover-up involving a group of consultant neurosurgeons accused of suppressing warnings about patient safety, according to reports.

According to whistleblower Mansoor Foroughi, who served as a consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital, concerns regarding high death rates and other safety issues were repeatedly raised between 2018 and 2021.

However, they were allegedly ignored or deliberately concealed by senior consultants, whom Foroughi referred to as “the gang.”

Foroughi claimed to have blown the whistle a staggering 17 times during his tenure, citing management failures and alarming mortality rates. His efforts, however, allegedly met with resistance and dismissal from the hospital.

His claims included allegations that one colleague was authorized to conduct complex spinal surgery without sufficient training, a surgeon performed procedures resulting in a ‘disproportionate’ number of deaths, and another engaged in private practice while on call for the NHS.”

Another consultant, Krishna Singh, echoed Foroughi’s concerns, stating that he faced mistreatment after raising issues related to patient care.

The gravity of the situation became apparent when Sussex police launched an investigation into 105 cases of alleged medical negligence, including 40 patient deaths, at the hospital.

Earlier, four whistleblowers told the BBC that some patients had died needlessly, while others suffered severe harm.

These allegations have sparked public outrage and raised serious questions about patient safety and accountability within the healthcare system.

Both Foroughi and Singh have taken legal action against their dismissals, alleging unfair treatment and harassment. Their claims, detailed in court documents released after a lengthy legal battle.

Families of affected patients have also come forward, accusing the hospital of disregarding their concerns and failing to address issues in a timely manner.

Among them is the father of Lewis Chilcott, a 23-year-old mechanic who died following a tracheostomy procedure. He alleged that the hospital “gaslit” him after his son’s death, dismissing his claims of surgical error.

In response to the allegations, the hospital trust has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, asserting that Foroughi’s complaints were made in bad faith to further his own career.

The trust opposed his claims at the employment tribunal, denying “that the health or safety of any patients had been or was likely to be endangered”.

It also said it used an “experienced external investigator” as part of the disciplinary process.

In response to Singh’s claims, the trust said in a statement, “The trust will vigorously contest these claims at the Employment Tribunals, which we are keen take place at the earliest opportunity so they can be examined properly and fairly.

“Dismissing anyone, or removing someone from a leadership role, is an absolute last resort and we would always seek to avoid this outcome if possible.

“In both of these cases, due process was followed, and we are confident we did the right things, in the right way, for the benefit of our patients, their care and safety.”

In the past, the trust stressed its primary focus on providing “safe and efficient healthcare.” It stated that the data did not support claims of avoidable deaths and denied the existence of a harmful organizational culture originating from senior management.

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