issue of how staff were helped or hindered in reporting concerns about colleagues. Various medical and administrative staff and senior representa- tives from the NHS, patients support groups, the General Medical Council (GMC), Royal Colleges and other interested parties were invited to these seminars, during which the Chatham House rule applied. This means that the contents of the seminars may be drawn upon, but participants may not be quoted (see DH 2005, paras. 2.40–2.44). The paper therefore offers a report on a somewhat unusual but rich source of material. So first, a brief note on the doctors whose actions, and the reporting of them, were the focus of the Three Inquiries. Clifford Ayling Clifford Ayling was convicted in 2000 of 12 counts of indecent assault on 10 patients he had seen while in general practice and as a gynaecologist and
‘Cultural’ issues for staff reporting in the NHS 913 © 2006 The Author. Journal compilation © 2006 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness/Blackwell Publishing Ltd obstetrician in London and Kent, and was sentenced to four years impris- onment. Complaints of assault were made by dozens of other women, many of whom attended the Inquiry. The assaults mainly related to unnecessary or inappropriate examinations carried out for his sexual gratification rather than for genuine medical purposes, in addition to complaints about his obstetric competence. The Inquiry was particularly interested in why objections to his behaviour dating from 1971 were not heard or acted upon more effectively and swiftly. Richard Neale The case of Richard Neale included operating at a level above his compe- tence; failure to obtain properly informed consent to operations; failure to give appropriate information about complications arising from his surgery; the deaths of two patients in Canada due to incompetence, for which he was banned from practising in Canada; being cautioned following his arrest in a public toilet and giving false identification details; rudeness to staff and patients; failing to answer on-call requests to attend the hospital; and other allegations. He also misled prospective employers by not informing them that he was under investigation in Canada for professional misconduct and incompetence, and continued to ask for employment references without disclosing these and similar facts. In what might be seen as an irony, he was for a time in charge of audit for a hospital Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Chairman of a District Medical Audit Committee, and was almost appointed as a clinical assessor for the GMC, despite the fact that the GMC had been informed in 1985 that he had been struck off the medical register in Ontario, Canada. William Kerr and Michael Haslam The third Inquiry concerned two consultant psychiatrists, Kerr and Haslam, who worked in North Yorkshire in the 1970s and 1980s. Both were found guilty of sexual abuse of female patients, and Haslam was initially sentenced to seven years in prison though this was later reduced. Kerr and Haslam were the subjects of numerous allegations from former patients. In many
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