Finance directors sacking highlights Stalinist NHS, says MP

9 Jan 03
A Liberal Democrat MP is demanding an inquiry after the finance director of St George's NHS Trust in London was sacked because of his 'management style'.

10 January 2003

Frontbench spokesman Edward Davey alleges that Ian Perkin was actually dismissed because he highlighted irregularities at the trust, and has backed Perkin's demand to be reinstated. Perkin was sacked following a disciplinary hearing in December.

Davey said Perkin was being victimised because he blew the whistle on attempts to falsify the trust's record of cancelled operations, and because he warned that the trust would breach its statutory duty to deliver a balanced budget this financial year.

'My constituent's main fault was to question decisions to falsify statistical returns to the NHS [and] to tell the truth about the underlying financial position of St George's,' Davey said. 'Ministers will have to investigate what has happened and themselves answer for how their regime can allow this to happen.'

Perkin, who was director of finance for 12 years, claims his decision to make protected disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure Act led directly to his dismissal.

He has launched legal proceedings against his former employer and an interim hearing is due to take place on January 17.

Davey said Perkin's case raised serious questions about the 'Stalinist' culture within the NHS, which meant staff were pressured to generate good news for the organisation.

'When NHS staff are punished for telling the truth, just because it rocks the boat a little, we should all be very worried,' he said.

A spokesman for St George's Trust said the incorrect figures on operation cancellations had been caused by a 'glitch in data collection for those three weeks'. He said the trust could not comment on Perkin's dismissal because of the forthcoming tribunal hearing.


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