Justice for Care Home Whistleblowing Nurse

I am a qualified "RGN" (Registered General Nurse) with a "BSc hons degree in Health Studies" specialised in "Caring for the Elderly" ENB 978 & 941 and "BA diploma in Management" (Institute of Management). I was a Matron/Manager at the Warberries Nursing Home (Red Health Care Ltd, RHC that employed 49 staff and accommodated up to 49 patients) for 16 years until the home went into Administration on 2/8/11.

2/8/11- Ernst & Young (E&Y) were appointed by RBS under Paragraph 14 of schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986. E&Y also employed agents Healthcare Management Solutions (HCMS) to manage the home under E&Y directions. HMS is not qualified, competent or under any regulatory body to assess their abilities to manage Nursing Homes.

I have a 9 page contract between both companies (E&Y and HCMS) that stipulates HCMS were contracted to manage “Residential Homes” even though we were a “Nursing Home” with patients who had complex needs but I was unaware of this at the time I began to raise concerns. However, I did raise them to both E&Y and HCMS that was not well received; I therefore passed on these concerns to the local Care Trust who acted promptly that then had reassurance from the interim managers confirming that they will address my concerns.

There were many other concerns as they managed the home like a “Residential Homes” and when I returned after days off, this was evident as they had removed daily assessment charts and one of these charts measured fluid intake and output so no one knew what the patients had drunk or had no idea of their output. I was not happy and re-circulated these charts to majority of patients. There had also been numerous complaints about the patient care on one of the teams (team 3) that resulted in the Care Trust removing a patient from this team and was reallocated to another nursing home. I challenged the interim manager who seemed to get on very well with staff on team 3 (who I also challenged for poor delivery of care). Their answer was that they were doing other chores in the office for HCMS, so they eagerly did this but neglected their patients. I asked them why did they listen to HCMS and neglect their patients; the response was “we don’t know who to listen to anymore as HCMS are managing the home and didn’t feel I was the manager anymore”…..I was absolutely shocked at this statement as I said but what about your patients? This didn’t matter as they were more intent on pleasing the new interim managers.

HCMS also asked staff from teams 1 & 2 to help them but thankfully, they refused as their patients were their priority. I also refused to manage the home under HCMS unsafe regime and battled to continue as we previously had done. As we had a superb reputation and had many staff working with me for many years that were well trained to manage a lot of intermediate care patients we had received from the local care trust. However, things took a horrendous drastic turn that led to the following events:

  • I emailed more concerns to HCMS/ E&Y on 17/8/11 at 9am that then led to my suspension 4 hours later due to allegations of bullying a member of staff (an RGN who worked night duties and lived onsite in the lovely detached house). This RGN also made the same allegations against her best friend of sixteen years. She worked as an office administrator and helped many staff and then retired but she continued to help the home on a voluntary basis. She was highly thought of by everyone.

  • Due to this RGN making these false allegations, this led to my suspension and instant dismissal (on 17/8/11) of the volunteer who has never got over this action that she thought was one of her best friends and to this day wants to know why this RGN lied about us, considering the immense help we both gave her and her children.

  • HCMS at the behest of E&Y then collected full statements from a minority of staff (most of this staff were from team 3 who I had previously challenged) by 6/9/11 but only showed me extracts of these statements alleging I had bullied them. They obtained six statements out of forty nine staff as the other forty three staff refused to make statements against me.

  • After my suspension and three other staffs` suspension (Who openly supported me), the delivery of care was extremely poor that led to five patients being removed from team 3 by the local care trust and families who then relocated these patients to other nursing homes permanently. The local Care Trust also ceased further patients being admitted to the Warberries by 22/8/11.

  • The bank administrators wanted me removed as I was a risk to the sale of the home due to my complaints that could have potentially closed the home or devalue the home considerably. They also needed my CQC management registration as they cannot operate any home without this and are only allowed 28 days grace to manage a home. So they dismissed me on 18/10/11 and the new owners took over on 15/11/11, precisely 28 days later.

  • The home was managed as a residential home rather than a nursing home that had many patients with complex care needs and they removed all Activity of Daily Living (ADL) charts but teams 1 & 2 secretly kept the ADL charts that prevented these patients being removed.

  • I was unfairly dismissed by HCMS/ E&Y on 18/10/11 for allegations of bullying and unbeknown to me, they submitted six full statements they had from 6/9/11 to the NMC and ISA on 4/11/11 after I had whistleblown eleven times and made another grievance to these interim managers on 1/11/11

  • Soon after the new owners took over the home 15/11/11, 90% of long serving staff that had worked with me for many years also left as they felt that they had the same philosophy as the interim managers and the staff on team 3 where two members had been promoted were

  • I received an NMC bundle on 19/11/11 that contained full statements from these six members of staff who had alleged “I was a bullying bowel obsessed matron that gave varying doses of medication without authority to do so”, and I was subjected to an NMC interim Order hearing on 2/12/11 with the intent of me being suspended for eighteen months. When I attended the NMC hearing in London, I was turned away as they hadn’t had enough time to read my evidence that I had submitted. So was called again on 17/1/12.

  • I attended the NMC interim Order hearing in London again on 17/1/12 where the panel had time to read my evidence as well as forty + positive statements from staff that supported me. The allegations that were made against me were not proved as these did not match any contemporaneous documentation I was able to provide. The panel decided not to put an interim order on me that angered the NMC Barrister as he hadn’t even read my evidence.

  • I then received another bundle from the NMC on 16/3/12 subjecting me to another Interim Order hearing as the new owners / manager of the Warberries submitted the same allegations. I then attended London two more times in March and April 2012 but was turned away due to the panel not having time to read my evidence. I complained to the NMC CEO complaints team who then reviewed my evidence and decided that I didn’t need to attend NMC for an Interim Order hearing.

  • I was cleared by the Safeguarding Police and Independent Safeguarding Authority and won my Employment Tribunal in 2012 but I cannot claim this compensatory remedy as the bank administrators did not employ me, even though they unfairly dismissed me. This is due to the Insolvency Act 1986 that has no public defence but merely protects the banks, the Insolvency Practitioners and agents such as HCMS.

  • The NMC continued to investigate whilst I applied for nearly 570 but potential employers were hesitant due to on-going NMC investigations and being a Whiistleblower. So I have had extreme financial difficulties and this put my home at risk by being repossessed, however, fortunately, I have had a lot of financial support from my family and friends for the last five years and the mortgage company have allowed me to pay reduced payments until 5/3/16.

  • By July 2014, I received 10,000 pages of documents and sixteen statements from the NMC but only four statements were from care assistance that continued to work at the Warberries. After I had gone through all 10,000 pages of documents, it then transpired that a lot of these documents were irrelevant, such as diaries, off duties for the last five years (2006-2011) and they failed to include my evidence and placed some under un-used material. I requested many patients` notes, training, supervision, safeguarding files and other relevant notes that were relevant to the seventeen charges against me. All of this was refused apart from one patient that took nearly 5 months to arrive. However, I was able to use the NMC evidence against the witnesses who all failed to match contemporaneous documents.

  • I had to attend the NMC CCCSH as a self representing nurse as I could not secure any legal representation from the very start as I couldn’t afford to pay my RCN monthly subscriptions and no lawyer would touch my case as public funding all changed in April 2014.

  • The NMC CCCSH took place from 23/3/15 – 13/4/15 and 21/7/15 – 24/7/15. I believe I was able to prove my innocence as I was able to cross examined thirteen witnesses that all proved to be economical with the facts and the other three witnesses never turned up. By the end of fact finding (13/4/15) had been completed, the legal assessor confirmed I was of good character and was not dishonest and even remarked that these allegations did not take place as this would support my stance before Employment tribunal panel who confirmed I was not guilty of bullying. All CCC panel members and the NMC case presenter were offered the option of putting an Interim Order upon me or any other sanction as it was felt that my fitness to practise was not impaired. However, when I returned in July 2015, the panel’s demeanour had completely changed towards me and by 24th July 2015, I knew by this time that the panel had made their minds up and I accused them of being corrupt and refused to stay for the rest of the day and walked out. I was then informed by 29/7/15 that I had an interim suspension order with a striking off order but had 28 days to appeal this decision.

One main thing that sticks out all the time is that when I challenged the CCC panel about the remaining charges they did not remove; e.g., I was charged with events that happened on team 3 after I was removed as a patient was left in pain for a week due to a fractured hand, and due to many staff keeping contact with me, they alerted this to me, so I asked for her to immediately take him to hospital when it was then identified. This patient’s son also identified that a member of staff from team 3 had used his father’s mobile phone 67 times but when this was alerted, the phone was dispersed in water and the SIM card was removed so no one could trace the numbers. The son also complained to the staff that a patient was shouting “help me, help me” for over an hour but many of the staff were outside smoking and said to him, don’t worry she always says this. He was very concerned, so removed his father with the help of the local care trust care manager. ……. The CCC panel had evidence of the horrendous care that ensued after I was removed but they said to me “If you don’t like it, you can always appeal”. It was at this point that it dawned on me that the NMC/ CCC panel has the power to abuse Whistleblowers irrespective of evidence and live testimonies when being cross examined that actually supported me more but nurses are afraid.

The NMC/ CCC panel are only assessed by the PSA when they are too lenient BUT no one assesses them when they completely abuse their power against innocent whistleblowers. I now wonder how many other innocent nurses are subjected to this horrendous vexatious treatment that has an insidious affect. Being assessed in one area is like having a fork without a knife.

After looking at the NMC figures of appeal, it was evident that not many succeeded as only a few have won the right of appeal at High Court with a QC Barrister where the Judge has struck out the striking off order but very rarely interferes with the charges made by the CCC panel. So the full charges are remitted back to the CCCSH for consideration. However, Mrs. Justice Andrews DBE (High Court Judge) was able to interfere with charges against me as she could see how someone or many has tried to frame me and removed 43 sub-charges against me. I believe this is the first case a self litigant to succeed but I say this with passion and innocence and I believe if I can do this, then many others can do it alone.

I have never been subjected to or witnessed such horrendous corruption that society believes to be fair, honest and decent, especially bank administrators and their agents or a public authority such as the NMC/ CCC panel members. I also know I have damaged egos due to my persistent nature for the sake of the vulnerable and some have harboured a grudge against me NOT because I bullied them or harmed patients, on the contrary, THESE WITNESSES KNOW I FOUGHT VERY HARD FOR MY PATIENTS AND THEY CAME FIRST AND I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGED EGOS – BUT I AM PROUD FOR HOW I FOUGHT FOR MY PATIENTS. 90% OF STAFF FEELS THE SAME AS I DO AND ALL KNOW I GAVE THE BEST CARE POSSIBLE AND HAVE VERIFIED THIS. NO WONDER THEY ALL LEFT SOON AFTER I WAS REMOVED…. NO WONDER PATIENTS WERE REMOVED SOON AFTER I WAS REMOVED."

High Court Judgment link below: Suddock v The Nursing and Midwifery Council [2015] EWHC 3612 (Admin) (11 December 2015)

Vasanta Suddock

6th January 2016 Your Voice Matters would like to thank Vasanta for writing a Guest blog for our web site. May her story give hope to many.

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