Nursing continues to produce courageous whistleblowers, such as Terry Bryan, who helped expose the Winterbourne View scandal and Helene Donnelly, who tried to sound the alarm about care standards at Stafford hospital. But the most famous was, and remains, Graham Pink.
It was in 1990 that Pink – "Mr Pink" to friend and foe alike – touched a national nerve with his principled stand over staffing levels on the elderly care wards where he worked at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport. His letters to everyone from his immediate managers to the prime minister, setting out in meticulous detail the harsh realities of life on the wards, made compelling, if deeply uncomfortable, reading.
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I was born in Stepping Hill hospital, the original one on the A6 in Stockport. The twin of a brother with a learning disability, my mother was advised to leave my twin at the hospital, forget he existed and take me home as he would be too hard to look after. I shudder to think what would have become of him had he been left there in 1966. He would probably have spent his whole life living in an institution.
My mother ignored their advice and brought us both home!
Suffice to say we are both thriving and able to tell the tale, this is part of the reason I am passionate about the provision of care and ensure that I always promote best practice and have no qualms about reporting poor practice.
Things change when people speak out and we are dealing with people’s lives at the end of the day.
I am proud to say that Routes Healthcare has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any kind of abuse and I share their ethical stance.
I believe that abusers are in the minority and often don’t realize that what they are doing is abuse. We train people to heighten their awareness and provide avenues for them to report poor practice, please use them if you witness abuse.
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