Commenting on the revelation that Sir David Nicholson presided over 50 gagging orders of NHS staff Julia Manning, CEO of 2020health said:
“Nothing surprises us about Sir David; we are just incredibly saddened that a public servant completely ignores his duties of accountability and honesty, considers himself to be above the law and sets an appalling example of arrogance, forgetting that his role is as a servant, not a master, to ministers and the public.
“This is not the first time the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found him to be ignorant and neglectful of his duties at best, complicit with cover-up and failures at worst. Two years ago he clashed with the National Audit Office in front of the PAC over the National Programme for IT because the information he provided was late, inconsistent and contradictory.”
Gail Beer, Director at 2020health and a former NHS Trust Director added:
“Once again we have Sir David claiming he didn’t know about the facts. After Francis, he claimed that he did not know about Standardised Mortality Rates, when the rest of the NHS was all too aware of them post Bristol. He then went on to claim that the safety and experience of the patient in A&E was more important than meeting the four hour waiting time target, having created a culture of fear and retribution for NHS staff who didn’t hit targets. He is like a First World War General whose rhetoric bears little resemblance to the truth of the matter in the trenches.”
“Not only should Sir David step down today, he should be investigated for wilful neglect, misrepresentation and cover-up. In the financial sector, we have seen systemic failure leading to individuals having bonus payments clawed back, being sacked, facing criminal sanctions and having their knighthoods withdrawn. So far in the NHS, hundreds, if not thousands of people have died through a culture of bullying and cover-up and no one has been held accountable. That is absolutely immoral.”