Letters

I feel compelled to respond to the letter from Professor Christopher Maggs (2 July) on why nurses did not blow the whistle on the Bristol Royal Infirmary children's deaths.

My experience does not relate directly to clinical practice, but I hope it will go some way to explaining their inaction.

I transferred my nursing skills to a position in a London health authority. While there I became increasingly distressed by my line manager's attitude and behaviour towards my role and me personally.

Having attempted to address this informally on several occasions, I asked for help at a senior level. The treatment I received was almost brutish.

Though I was attempting to resolve matters informally, I was intimidated and deceived, and proper procedures were ignored.

This made me so angry I took out a formal grievance, and then the nastiness really began. With my MP's support I obtained a hearing.

The outcome was a farce.

My union representative was told 'in the corridor' that I had proved my case, yet senior managers were not prepared to remedy the situation. Too tired and battered to appeal, I negotiated the termination of my contract.

Given my experience, that of others - including Graham Pink - and the fear expressed by the Bristol anaesthetist, is it any wonder people think twice before taking action?

It is the 'right' thing to do, but there is a cost. Life becomes unpleasant, and bills still need to be paid.

My MP has offered continuing support, and the regional office has tried to act.

However, everyone's hands are tied until we have legislation to guard the rhetoric surrounding 'whistleblowing'.

At a recent United Kingdom Central Council professional development event, the response was the same - there is nothing it can do to protect us.

It would therefore be entirely wrong for the UKCC to undertake an inquiry unless its purpose is to campaign for legislation.

My only lasting consolation is that I no longer have to share precious days with this particular brand of health service yobbo.

Name and address supplied