May 16, 2010

UK: Trainee thrown out after exposing abuse at shamed hospital

LONDON, England / The Daily Mail / Femail / May 16, 2010

The nurse victimised for being a whistleblower

By Fay Schlesinger

A student nurse who exposed the appalling neglect of elderly patients at a hospital trust where up to 1,200 people died needlessly has been thrown off her training course.

Two years after the Stafford Hospital scandal, Barbara Allatt reported NHS colleagues for leaving patients in soiled sheets, shouting at dementia sufferers and secretly slipping sedatives into a cup of tea.

But the mature student was condemned for having an 'attitude problem' before being withdrawn from her nursing course at Staffordshire University last month.

Miss Allatt, 40, now plans to sue over a 'culture of bullying' during placements at Stafford Hospital and Cannock Chase Hospital, both part of the crisis-hit Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.
Barbara Allatt was thrown off her training course after reporting the neglect of patients

Her experiences come after a damning independent inquiry found the safety of sick and dying patients was 'routinely neglected', leading to between 400 and 1,200 unnecessary deaths at the trust between 2005 and
But no officials were disciplined and two years on hospital bosses have apparently failed to tackle the 'inhumane treatment' identified in the report.

Miss Allatt, from Cannock, said: 'The wards were heartbreaking. There were patients crying out for help but the staff would sit chatting.

'Some needed urgent pain relief or a change of sheets and others just needed a bit of reassurance, but they were ignored, shouted at or mocked with cruel names.

'Sick and elderly people were manhandled and abused.

'But when I complained my colleagues told me to mind my own business. They were so pally with each other that they shut me out and I felt helpless.'

Miss Allatt, a mother of one with a long-term partner, left her job as an occupational therapy technician to start a diploma in adult nursing in March last year.

She passed her exams and got glowing reports on placements in the community - but was disgusted by what she saw on hospital wards.

Over four months at Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals between May 2009 and January this year, she recorded a catalogue of horrors. [rc]

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