'The NHS is a wonderful institution. It largely provides what its founders intended: medical care for all from cradle to grave, free at the point of use and funded by general taxation. Nevertheless, it’s not perfect. Scandals at the Bristol Children’s Heart Unit and, more recently, at Stafford General Hospital, Furness General Hospital and Heart of England Foundation Trust, have shaken public confidence. Abysmal care and, worse, the cover-up of patient harm and avoidable death, have come to light. It is against this background that I offer my own story. I was one of those doctors who spoke up for patients and suffered the consequences…'
The scandals of poor care and repeated cover-ups in the NHS in recent years have raised serious questions about the mistreatment of NHS whistleblowers. This book is autobiographical and offers the first detailed account of the ruin of a highly competent senior doctor who blew the whistle.
Dr David Drew was a NHS consultant at Walsall Manor Hospital for over 19 years, including 7 spent as head of the paediatric department, before ongoing concerns over the state of poor care led him to become a whistleblower. This put him on a collision course with senior NHS hospital managers. Removed as head of department, he was suspended on trumped up charges, faced allegations of mental illness and disciplinary action and was dismissed for Gross Misconduct and Insubordination.
David’s eye-opening account gives a unique insight into the NHS procedures that are used to dispose of senior management’s critics – at the cost of patient care.
- Author News
- View Press Coverage
- Read Book Reviews
- Review This Book
No news has been uploaded for this title
The Hospital Consultant
Sutton Coldfield Observer
The Pharmaceutical Journal
Walsall Advertiser, 12 June
Female First, 3 June
I have just finished reading dr. Drew's "autobiography" which i found extremely interesting if somewhat disturbing in parts. Very well written, a couldn't-put-it-down read even for me who is in no way medical. Tales of his early life and career abroad were fascinating.
Disturbing as he got further into his career at Walsall. He worked with a relative of mine and i remember a lot of what he says and can confirm things happened exactly as he states Desperately sorry for dr Drew and his family that he didn't get the justice he so deserves.
by Veronica Cardinal
A Powerful Autobiography, and A Cautionary Tale of Institutional Corruption: Read, Learn, and Weep!
I had not expected to be so moved by this book. There are several reasons why I was: Firstly, it is an incredibly honest autobiography, laced with humour, irony, and honest self-reflection. The story of the son of a miner and a shop worker, who went to Grammar school and, without knowing quite why, found himself studying medicine at Bristol University. Coming late to Christianity - despite the tragic deaths of two of four brothers - he worked in Thailand and Nigeria in what others described as "missionary" work, before returning to England, and ultimately to a Midlands Hospital where he served for 19 unblemished years as a pediatric consultant.
At this point the second reason for my passionate feeling that this is a book that deserves to be widely read becomes clear. Autobiography merges with an astounding tale of institutional bullying and mismanagement, and the insidious undermining, and eventual termination, of the career of a good man whose integrity, professionalism, and Christian values, led him to dare to speak out for his patients and his colleagues.
Having worked in local government at a senior level I had observed plenty of this kind of corporate bullying designed to cover up managerial mistakes. I should not have been surprised. But this story is told in heart renting detail and with such raw honesty. I agree with another reviewer that it should be on the reading list of every managerial and business training course.
I hope that it also helps to bring closer the time when whistleblowing is seen as duty to be encouraged, rather than a threat to be obliterated.
Thank you David Drew.
by Bill Rogers, Caton books
I have just finished reading Dr Drew's "autobiography" which i found extremely interesting, if somewhat disturbing in parts. Very well written, a couldn't-put-down read even for me who is in no way medical.
Tales of his early life and career abroad were truly fascinating. Disturbing as he got further into his career at Walsall Hospital. He worked with a relative of mine for some time and i remember well a lot of what he says and can confirm things were just as he states
I feel desperately sorry for Dr Drew and his family that he didn't get the justice that he so rightly deserves. *****
A simply superb read about a Whistleblower, and how by speaking out, the NHS management machinery conspired to destroy the career and the reputation of a very senior, highly respected and very popular Consultant Paediatrician, by engineering his catastrophic fall from grace. David Drew writes his own story in an intelligent, engaging way, with laugh-out-loud moments peppering the text throughout, and he has the knack of making his story so vivid and alive that I almost felt I was there too in places.
This is much more than one man's personal story though. It is a remarkable essay on how power can be abused and how people can form political factions and alliances within unwieldy state-run institutions to further their own ends and hidden agendas. When this happens the NHS can then be driven by corporate reputational issues which further the shabby little careers of go-getting amoral senior management staff, rather than being driven by medical need to reduce suffering and save peoples' lives.
When an organisation's culture has lost it's way like this those like David Drew, who are brave enough to speak out, are likely to be bullied, discredited, disparaged, humiliated and disgraced. This is a story of modern-day life, and unfortunately, it's not confined to the NHS.
Everyone should read this book, certainly anyone who cares about truth, decency, morality or integrity in the workplace, or in any place. It should be required reading for everyone in any sort of management role in any type of organisation, to serve as a cautionary tale about how easily power can corrupt.
This is a story bravely outlining how corrupt the NHS is. Dr Drew, a highly respected paediatrician cared passionately about children under his care, but it cost him his job and livelihood. He spoke out about risk and complained about the murder of a child that could have been prevented but trust management chose to ignore him and instead fought to discredit him to save THEIR skin. Let's list key players who ignored the death of a child as Dr Drew uses actual names and it's easy to discover they are still working in the NHS. Are they working in your hospital?
1. Susan James - Chief Executive who ignored bullying and the death of a child and is NOW working in Derby Hospital
2. Karen Palmer and Robert Hodgkiss - NHS managers who bullied nurses, ignored poor care, discredited Dr Drew
3. Ben Reid - Chair of Walsall Hospital, still Chair, complicit in covering up death of a child
4. Dr Nadeem Moghal - consultant paediatrician at George Elliot Hospital, again covered up death of a child
list goes on. Are you working with them now?
Amazon ***** David's honest and humorous account deserves to be widely read, but more importantly to be reflected upon by those who manage public services. His is a story that while being over 300 pages long I found myself completing over one Sunday.
It has the power to make you rage, laugh and cry. I hope it also will have the power to inspire change. Its story of dysfunctional and self-serving management silencing its critics should be "unbelievable". However, it has the ring of truth, and provides a compelling case for better protection of whistler blowers. If we as a society, patients and service users wish to benefit from the protection that whistle blowers provide we have a duty to ensure that the whistle blower does not bear the cost. If "All clinicians must speak up for patients when they witness poor quality care." then those clinicians need to be heard and not silenced. David's voice in the story so far has generally fallen on deaf ears. I pray that in this extraordinary and brave account it may now be listened to.
by Garry Simpson
Amazon ***** An important book. Essential reading for all who work in the NHS and those who use its services. A horrifying account of the suppression of a whistleblower by management.
by S P Wellstood_Eason
Amazon ***** I couldn't put this down, even though it makes harrowing reading at times. It's dreadful that such behaviour goes on in modern times. Well done to David Drew for having the courage to write this book, and for naming names. I hope it achieves something, for future NHS employees, even if it's too late for David. (And I sincerely hope it's not.)
Amazon ***** A beautifully written account of an experience no one should ever experience. A highly qualified consultant paediatrician who tried to engage his employer, yet was met time after time with stubborn refusal to consider any internal failing. Whether you are a doctor or a nurse who has walked in these shoes; David effectively vindicates us for raising concerns. Let this insightful book lead the way for real change for those of us that raise concerns.
by K (UK)
Amazon ***** Speak the truth, says the GMC. Protect the patients from harm. But who protects the whistleblower? A moving tale. Well done to Dr Drew for his perseverance. Most medics would have faltered and followed the path of least resistance.
Amazon ***** Very enlightening and so very well written. A brave and principled man.
Wishing him and his family a very happy retirement.
by Mairwen Carr
Amazon ***** A good read, very interesting story, found it hard to put down. Finished within 5 days. How much of it is really true?
by N Chata
Amazon ***** A must read for all, NHS employees of all levels; the public and our ministers. So sad that this has occurred and ruined families and a career.
by Vivienne Bussey
Amazon ***** I couldn't put this down once I'd started to read it, scary what goes on in a caring (supposedly) organisation.
by Susan Williams
Amazon ***** David Drew has been the victim of a terrible sequence of events, which should never have happened. His situation is an indictment of the way the Department of Health in particular - and the health sector and private sector in general - respond to people that management see as a threat, even when the individuals are trying to make things better.
by Peter English
Amazon ***** David Drew was a respected consultant paediatrician for over 37 years. His care for and commitment to his patients comes across in this well crafted autobiography. It was this care for his patients that landed in trouble with his employers when he complained about lack of child protection, bullying of staff, a ward dangerously cold in winter and other matters. When he complained about a senior nurse he was the one suspended and referred to a psychiatrist. After he was reinstated there followed a travesty of a supposedly independent review of his case. He was not allowed to have witnesses cross-examined so he was not told who had complained about him expressing his Christian faith, Offered over £250,000 to resign with a good reference and a gagging order he bravely refused. The BMA, his professional body were of little help in contesting his dismissal so he had to fund his own case at employment tribunals. I will not spoil the story by disclosing the end of the tale. Throughout the book Dr Drew enjoys the full support of his wife Janet and their four adult children. It is quite a romantic tale of married love amid a very difficult struggle. All power to this good doctor as he now seeks to help other whistleblowers. By the way, we learn here that NHS employers do not recognise whistleblowers. They are mere trouble makers.
by G J Weeks
Amazon ***** As much a story about equality of opportunity and education as it is about equality of religious views or even healthcare. An openly honest, often warm and touching self-portrait of a dedicated public servant meeting his match against the liability-averse, responsibility-free managerial classes who plague so many corridors of public and private life. The saddest message amongst these little stories? How many like David Drew will there be in the next-generation of NHS doctors?
by Jon Tomas
Amazon ***** This is a true story. You must remember that. The story of a young man, from an ordinary background, who goes on to become a doctor. As a doctor he is fairly ordinary too, until he goes abroad and does some pretty exciting doctoring in exotic places. The first half of this book is a lovely romp through his life – James Herriot meets Dr Finlay’s Casebook – I don’t know if the book is supposed to be funny, but bits of it had me laughing out loud, and smiling a lot as I read. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon read, no effort required, and guaranteed to give you a warm feeling inside.
Until, that is, I got halfway through. I’ve read NHS reports, such as Francis (yes, all of it) and Serious Case Reviews about children who died but shouldn’t’ve. They made me cry, not just for the people who were hurt, but with frustration for the lack of self-awareness in the system, the institutional deaf and blindness to what is happening in real life and the apathy in some tiers of management. This book takes that and doubles it. This isn’t a faceless bureaucrat who has been paid to chair some committee – this is the real, honest truth from a man who lived it, day in, day out, for years. This is like hearing the horrors of the Somme from your Grandpa not a history text book. This moves you, because you hear the young man from the first half of the book literally crying in pain and frustration through every word.
by Mrs Sally A Hunt
Amazon ***** Part 2. I cried reading this book, tears of sadness, for the children who didn’t get the care they needed, of sympathy for the nurses and doctors who tried so hard, clearly loved their jobs but had every last molecule of love and joy squeezed out of them by the institution they dedicated their lives to and of frustration for the management and bureaucracy who were deaf and blind to what was happening in their own hospital.
This book should be mandatory reading for all NHS managers, board members and executives. Add MPs to that list too, heck, anyone who works in, or uses the NHS should read this (yes, I know that is practically everyone!). Once you’ve read it, look again at the portrayal of the NHS in the media. Do you have a different filter on your glasses now? Can you see why the current system is not working? I hope so. If not, read this book again, and this time believe every word.
by Mrs Sally A Hunt
Amazon ***** An immensely readable account of a complex process.
It gives real good for thought for any of us working in the NHS and considering speaking out I hope that if I am ever in the position I will have the courage of conviction down by Dr David Dre
by Mr I A Morrall
I've dealt with numerous clinical disputes and disasters in my long career. They are often complex, usually difficult to resolve and there are nearly always people, particularly patients, who get hurt along the way. The first bit of advice I give to anyone who will listen is that the most important thing you must do is to protect the patients. Preventing harm to patients should be the prime consideration of both professionals and management. Unfortunately it isn't always so.
David Drew has rendered good service. Firstly, to his patients and colleagues for standing up and advocating on their behalf when he felt things were going wrong. Secondly, to us all for writing this important, moving and entirely believable account of his career and its premature termination.
It is a book that should be read by NHS clinicians and managers alike. It should also be read by the politicians that have it, almost uniquely, in their power to tilt the balance both towards patient protection and towards the support of clinicians, like David Drew, who challenge poor patient care when they encounter it.
by Gabriel Scally