Why this campaign?

Welcome to this blog, the first of my campaign, and to my website.

My name is Narinder Kapur….I am a consultant neuropsychologist and visiting Professor of Neuropsychology at University College London. I am married with three children. I was born in India, but I grew up in N Ireland. You can find out more about my story on my website, www.abetternhs.com. Essentially, I was employed at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge from 2003-2010, when I was dismissed for an alleged breakdown in relationships with my line manager. I took my employer to an employment tribunal, and won my case of unfair dismissal in 2012.

I am very reluctant to take the course of action I have embarked on….I have never taken part in a public demonstration or public march in my life, even when they were in vogue in my student days in Belfast when there were civil rights marches galore, and taking part in a hunger-strike is the very last thing I would ever think of doing. However, the situation is so serious, with so little apparent awareness of the wrongdoings that have happened or are happening in the NHS and of the need to make improvements, that I have decided as a last resort to take this course of action. I think I am the only employee in the history of the NHS to go on hunger-strike to try and make the NHS better for patients and staff.

My main concern is that management in the NHS is in a mess – at times is intellectually and morally bankrupt – and that this results in harm to patient care, to a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, and in some cases to terrible distress to NHS staff and their families. There are of course some excellent and courageous managers in the NHS, and I salute them, but the system itself can be very dysfunctional.

When I say management in the NHS is in a mess, I mean several things –

  • Whistleblowers are often not listened to, or worse, are treated as troublemakers and given a really difficult time
  • Some NHS staff find themselves suspended or dismissed for trumped-up reasons, and have to go through proceedings that are grossly unfair, and resemble a show trial or a kangaroo court. This often leads to major miscarriages of justice.
  • There is little in the way of proper regulation or accountability of managers, or of clinical staff who take up management roles
  • When management mistakes do occur, unlike in the case of medical or surgical mistakes, little changes afterwards. Currently in the NHS if a major medical or surgical error occurs, there are detailed investigations carried out, numerous meetings held, reports submitted to external regulatory bodies, sometimes a site visit by external experts, apologies to those who have been harmed, and no expense is spared to ensure that lessons are learned and that similar mistakes do not happen again in the future. However, when mistakes in management occur, it is very rare that anything even remotely similar occurs. This is clearly not right.

Patient care can be harmed by management failures in a number of ways –

  • If whistleblowers’ concerns about patient care and patient safety are not respected and listened to, then harm can come to patients
  • If staff are suspended or dismissed, this invariably causes major disruption to a clinical service, often with expenses incurred, and it can take months or years to get the clinical service back to normal
  • Millions of pounds are spent on legal expenses, compensation settlements, and compromise agreements. This money has to come from somewhere, and we cannot afford this luxury at the present time, especially when the NHS is trying to save £20 billion. Such wasted money could be better spent on patient care.

Please pay a visit to my website, where these issues are discussed in detail. There is also a free downloads page where you can download booklets such as the Cambridge Memory Manual that I have written, if you want to improve your everyday memory! There is an option to make a donation to a couple of charities, the Karen Woo Foundation or Unicef. And there is a final page where, if you feel inclined, you can sign an e-petition to support my campaign.

So thank you again for reading this blog, and I will be putting out further blogs in the next few days.