Posted September 18, 2022
In today’s episode, I talk with Professor Narinder Kapur, visiting professor of neuropsychology at UCL in London.
Narinder is not a nurse, but has done incredible work to support nurses after his own harrowing experience of unfair dismissal within healthcare.
Narinder suffered an extremely stressful unfair dismissal earlier in his career and fought for justice as a result.
His plight, inspired by Gandhian principles, led him to uncover structural issues with racism, unfairness, and inequality when addressing disciplinary procedures and investigations of whistleblowing in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
In this episode, Narinder talks candidly about his own experience and how that led him to support other healthcare staff, including nurses, who subsequently went through similar things.
He talks in-depth about nurse Amin Abdullah, a nurse who died of suicide following the shame he experienced as a result of what turned out to be unfair treatment and dismissal by his employer.
In this moving conversation, Narinder outlines:
To find out more about Narinder’s work and the recommendations he makes, see:
A moving video explaining more about the case of Amin Abdullah:
If you’re a nurse or midwife interested in further resources and conversations from us, join our Facebook group:
Nathan Illman 00:00
Welcome, listeners. It’s great to be back. So today I’m bringing you a really powerful and special conversation. I’m talking to someone who isn’t a nurse, but he’s an inspirational figure in the work he’s done to support the well being of nurses. And this is through his cause for system change in the British healthcare system, the NHS, after his own experiences of discrimination and unfair dismissal, and the subsequent effects on his mental health. He then went on to campaign for better training of managers to eliminate things like bullying and harassment and to change policies to support whistleblowing, and ensure fair disciplinary procedures. I think this episode leads on quite nicely from the last solo episode I did about how to prevent mental ill health and how to support nurses well being through preventative measures. In this episode, we get into some of the structural and systemic problems that can exist within healthcare systems that can and should be changed to support nurses well being through for example, things like disciplinary procedures. In this episode, we talk about quite an emotive topic. And a central part of the episode is Narinder, my guest, talking about nurse Amin Abdullah. And just to give you a little brief background, Amin was a nurse who sadly took his own life several years back. And that was in response to unfair dismissal within a London hospital. After hearing about Amin’s case, I guess. Narinder became heavily involved and wanted to reach out and support Terry, Amin’s partner in campaigning to raise more awareness of some of the preventable issues that had arisen, shown up during the course of Amin’s disciplinary procedures. So Narinder has really sacrificed much of his own time and his money in order to raise the profile of the issues encountered with Amin’s case and many other nurses and doctors within the NHS. He is truly an inspirational man. And I can’t wait to bring you this conversation. We’re timing the release of this episode to be in conjunction with something truly amazing that’s come out of this whole really tragic circumstance and event. And that is the work that Narinder inherently been doing in the background with the RCN Foundation, which is a charity in the UK that supports projects related to Nursing and Midwifery, they have created a grant and award each year that’s called the Amin Abdullah Award, and this will be a sum of around 1000 pounds a little bit more now, I think, per year for a nurse-led project that either aims to enhance nurse while being in some way or the project has already been completed in an organization or elsewhere. And a nurse or team of nurses are looking to disseminate the results of that project. So it’s a really fantastic award, I’m really proud to be involved in this and to be able to support it, and to tell all of you listeners about it as well. So there’ll be some information about that award. If you’re interested to find out more in the show notes. You can also check out the RCN foundation in the UK, just Googling them and have a look at some of the other projects that they support as well. A really fantastic organization. If you’re not in the UK, check it out anyway, because maybe it’ll give you some inspiration for something that you’d like to do within your healthcare system, your organization or some kind of charity work that you’d like to get involved in elsewhere. So I’m going to stop rambling on I’m really excited to bring you this this conversation with Narinder Kapur.
Nathan Illman 04:03
Welcome to the Nurse Wellbeing Mission podcast hosted by me Nathan Illman. This is the place where nurse and midwife wellbeing are at the top of the agenda. Each episode aims to help nurses and midwives around the world flourish through informative, inspiring and practical content and conversations.
Nathan Illman 04:27
So Narinder, thank you so much for joining me on the nurse wellbeing mission podcast. Would you like to just begin by telling us a bit about who you are and your background and where your interest and your work stemmed from so obviously, you’ve done a lot of work not just with nurse wellbeing, but the well being of healthcare staff in general. So give us a bit of a backstory.
Narinder Kapur 04:51
Yes, well, I’m known to differ. I’m a consultant, neuropsychologist and I was born in India. And my parents, I mean, there’s a bit of a history to my family because we were in Pakistan before partition. And when the British decided in their wisdom to divide India into to Pakistan, India, we were on the wrong side of the border. And we were Hindus living in a Muslim Muslim country. So my parents were actually refugees who fled from Pakistan to India in 1947. And I was born a few years later in New Delhi. And a few years later, after that, my parents came to settle in Northern Ireland where I grew up.
Narinder Kapur 05:39
And so I was educated in Northern Ireland. I went to Queen’s University in Belfast, I trained as a clinical psychologist. I spent a year in the States. But I was influenced by my parents. My father was very, very generous to charities in India, he always thought about helping people in need in India. And in the late 1990s, I wrote a book called The Irish Raj, which is about Indians who came to Ireland and Irish went to India. And as part of that I had to research Mahatma Gandhi because Mahatma Gandhi, he took a lot of his inspiration from the Irish freedom struggle. So I remember going to Oxford and going to the Oxford library and Oxford diaries got about 20 volumes of Gandhi’s own writings, and looking up all Gandhi had written about Ireland. And so that so that was awful. That was how I started to know Burgandy. And my inspiration and actually, whenever I visited India, on a research basis, I went to a hospital there in Delhi and there’s on the outpatient department. There was a beautiful, saying from Ghandi, it’s not our patients who are indebted to us that we are indebted to our patients. And we should be a privileged for us to look after them. And that moved me as well. So Gandhian principles and Gandhian philosophies were part of my upbringing as well in my learning.
Narinder Kapur 07:09
And so I then got jobs as a neuropsychologist in 2000, mostly working in Southampton for 20,30 years. And 2003 I got a job as head of neuro psychology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. And I, my family stayed in Southampton and I worked there during the week and came back second weekend.
Narinder Kapur 07:32
And I was told even before I took the job, do you realize this could be a poisoned chalice. In fact, the person who offered me the job said that and didn’t really understand what he meant. But then I realized that there’s always complexities when you’re working in a high art place like Cambridge.
Narinder Kapur 07:49
Anyway, after a while, when I was working in Cambridge, I started to realize that there were patient safety issues, there was unqualified staff and clinics. And there was a particular case of a brain injury patient who was told he didn’t have a brain injury at all. But he kept on being told he had a brain injury by unqualified staff. And this was affecting his care. And I raised issues like this, and I became I was, I didn’t know what the word whistleblowing meant, but I was effectively a whistleblower. And people didn’t like that. And I was then victimized when I was in Cambridge, I raised other patients safety concerns about 13 patient safety concerns. Over seven years, I was bullied by the clinical services director as a neurosurgeon called John Picard and an external mediator who was asked to mediate award and make 20,000 pounds compensation for that bullying. But he was delighted to stay on as clinical services director and VP than engineered my dismissal.
Narinder Kapur 08:51
And they couldn’t find anything to dismiss me, my clinical practice was regarded as excellent. I could be doing very well with patients and colleagues, but they used what I didn’t realize that was a legal legal loophole called some other substantial reason. And that’s just a vague term where they can just use any excuse to get
Narinder Kapur 09:08
And, and they just said, Well, you can get on with your line manager. So therefore, we’re going to get rid of you. And when I showed them the British Psychological Society guidance that line managers should be psychologists, they said, Oh, we don’t we don’t understand that we don’t think that’s relevant. So in fact, ignoring my professional body guidance when needed to get rid of me, so they sacked me in 2010. And during that time, I afterwards I found out that whilst I was away in Ireland during my time at Cambridge, they are giving a conference about saying how wonderful Addenbrooke’s was. The manager was searching my computer, hacking my computer and searching it, trying to find evidence against me, and they couldn’t find anything. But they tried to search my office and take my computer to try to find some evidence against me, and they couldn’t. But then when they sacked me in 2010, and I went through what was clearly a kangaroo court.
Narinder Kapur 10:10
There was just one dismissing officer. When I was appointed to the job, there are about seven or eight people in the panel of experts, independent people from outside the trust, when I was saying just a single person on the panel is amazing when you’re selected. You know, if you don’t get the job, well, you can just get another job. But if you’re dismissed, plus your reputation ruined, and so you’ll never get another job again in your life. And so I was sacked by one person, he wasn’t a psychologist, he was an engineer. Nobody else in the panel, nobody to represent my BME background. And at the end of the dismissal, hearing, the dismissal officer, he just winked at my union official more or less say, Look, we’re gonna sack this guy, just do a deal.
Narinder Kapur 10:55
So they offered me a bribe a one year salary 75,000 times if I could just resign, and say, and leave, but I refused. So I took them to court. And I won a case about unfair dismissal. But that was just technical when I never got my job back. And, I mean, I worked my guts out when I was there, and they’ve made life hell for me, they, they would freeze staff, freeze funds, had to spend my own money on patients or work or work during my leave. And even though I won awards for the hospitals, trust me, I was on BBC and I set up top races with Microsoft and IBM who invented the new memory head. Even though I did all that they just were out to get me and there were one or two rogue staff who just repeatedly told lies about me and they just just listen to them. So that was my unhappy experience at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Narinder Kapur 11:56
And then when I then I moved to London, I moved to UCL, I realized I soon realized that what happened to me was in fact, widespread throughout the NHS there was an organization then called patients first with a doctor, a pediatrician with almost with Kim Holt, he had founded because of the scandals that Great Ormond Street BBP and things like that. And she had found that this body because she realized that whistleblowers were being horribly treated and I got to know a lot of these doctors and I joined them and they find out that look, this is something corrupt about the NHS something grossly incompetent, grossly corrupt, grossly unfair. And I joined organizations like the British Association of Physicians when the UN origin because a lot of the staff who have been victimized or BME staff and I realized there was things were not quite right the system had to change. So I actually I took up and Gandhian principles Gambian actions. I went on hunger strike for five days, I said the Department of Health saying there’s a corrupt system here, an unfair system, this must change.
Narinder Kapur 13:27
And in that inquiry and inquiry reports, Robert, for the first time use the term kangaroo court, because people have said to him, Look, there are a kangaroo courts and the NHS where people are victimized. But on that report by Robert Francis set up freedom speak up guardians, which was obviously a good thing, but Robert never went further. He never said, Well, look, there shouldn’t be kangaroo courts. This was changed. He said, that wasn’t his dream, but…
Nathan Illman 13:58
Sorry to interrupt you. Would it be okay, just to explain a little bit more about the kangaroo court kind of concept?
Narinder Kapur 14:02
Yeah, the kangaroo court concept is very simple, that you have a hearing it could be to suspend to dismiss, to penalize and you make sure you know what the decision is going to be. You frame it, you bias it such that you’re gonna get rid of the person. Yeah, well, in my case, they decided to have a kangaroo court. And what they’ll have is just one person in the dismissal hearing, who is more or less told beginning your job is to sack Kapur and to make sure all the evidence is twisted, so that he gets sacked and we don’t make sure we don’t have anybody, it might say the trust, make sure that we don’t have any psychologist in the panel, anybody who has expertise, make sure it’s just totally biased. And record. And so, as I said, Robert Francis for the first time that he used that in his report because somebody mentioned that to him, but he didn’t then do the next logical step and saying, Well, let’s change the system so that there’s no such thing as a kangaroo court in the NHS. We didn’t do that. And when I’ve asked Robert Francis about this, he said, Well, that was not in his terms of reference.
Narinder Kapur 15:12
Anyway. So they, in a sense, the struggle was continuing until a day when I came back from a meeting in northern England. And I remember this came back. Kings Cross station, I went to the underground. I picked up the Evening Standard. And there was a story of Amina Abdullah, a nurse who had burned himself to death after going through an unfair process.
Narinder Kapur 15:55
And, you know, that thing will stick in your mind. So I then had to carry out a detective exercise, I had to find out who was the partner of Amin Abdullah, who was still there. Because they mentioned Amin’s partner, I think there is good more in the article, I had to try to find him. Because I said this now must change. You can’t have it. The young nurse goes and burns himself to death, I’d said Kensington Palace, because of what they’ve gone through.
Narinder Kapur 16:30
And so I managed, thank God to find ties get more Amin’s partner, we met. And that was the start of our campaign. And that was not easy. We had to decide what how best we do this, we write to MPs we write to this web that I employed the professional agency case, in your very good public relations agency contacts with the media, I pay thousands of times, fortunately, I was building up a successful private practice. And I could use some of my private practice income. I decided to use that to fund all this because not none of this was cheap. I remember even when one of the things we did was we got a coffin made with Amin’s picture on the front of the coffin. And we took this outside the Department of Health and the media were there. And we took that and we handed out coffin and traveling further. I remember that very clearly. Terry, and I did that initially, Department of Health officials refused to take the coffin. But they did. And that coffin didn’t cost and cost about four or 500 pounds to make understood the recourse and all this and we wrote MPs. We went to Imperial, where Imperial College the NHS Trust Charing Cross Hospital where I mean, what I’m saying you must have an independent inquiry. We met with the people there we met with the HR people. And the ultimate review. They said, we’ve done everything right. We’ve gone through all the proper process. There’s nothing unfair about this. Everything was done when we were concerned about patient safety. And Amin, was a whistleblower. Amin, raised patient safety concerns. He said there was a rogue patient who was damaging, doing things which were damaging patient care for other patients. Amin, then, whenever I mean that it was way to support other staff who were being criticized. And that was what Amin was punished for. He drew up a petition to support the staff. Amin was a young man in his 40s, early 40s, late 30s. You came from Malaysia, his country, and initially got a job in the British Real or something. But then he trained as a nurse, and he was an outstanding nurse. He won an award.
Narinder Kapur 18:45
He grew up in an orphanage in Malaysia, his mother committed suicide, and he had a tragic background, but for him, it was his dream come true. And he was a brilliant young nurse. What he was doing was he was doing two things. He was highlighting a patient safety issue in the ward. And he was saying, I was supporting staff who were being criticized. And because he drew up a petition, which was critical of what this patient was doing, this wrong patient was doing. He was that suspended and then dismissed. And his was a kangaroo court did more or less decided they were going to dismiss him one person on the panel. And that was it. And so on. So as you know, he went in tubes in the psychiatric unit, and he committed suicide, he went to Kensington Palace, and he burned himself to death. And when we went to Imperial to say that you have to have an independent inquiry, they refused. We’ve done nothing wrong. We followed all our processes. So then we managed to get a meeting with ministers and we thank, I thank sir Norman Lamb. Norman Lamb was a Liberal MP and when they had the coalition he was doing the ministry, and he helped military and I get a meeting with ministers. I remember very clearly in my meeting with Minister with the Minister, the Minister, and there’s a senior Department official. And I’m thinking to myself, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got 20 minutes here. These are probably the most important 20 minutes of my life, I persuade them to have an independent inquiry into Amin’s case, because this will then uncover the fact that these things are happening elsewhere in the NHS. Now, what did I say? And I did two things. First of all, I presented hard evidence, and I said, Here are 15 cases. 15 not one but 15 cases where judges or coroners, have damned the NHS have criticized the NHS have said the NHS is totally unfair in its processes. So that’s not me saying it is this judges are saying it. And I presented them as documentation saying, Look, this is hard evidence that there’s something not right in the NHS, number one. Number two, I decided to give them an example, examples from my life. And I said, I’ve been through, and this is after I’ve been to the coroner’s inquest, for Amin’s death, because I sat through all three days of the coroner’s inquest, and that was a traumatic experience in itself. And I remember Terry and I were there and Terry had to leave. He found the suit distressing for a few hours for a few minutes for that inquest. But I sat through that coroner’s inquest for Amin’s death. And I was left with the ministers. And I said to the Minister, I said to him, Look, I’ve had a career in the NHS. I’ve been through traumatic experiences in the NHS, and I gave them three examples. I said, Look, I worked in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. I saw on the bone blast cases, I saw gunshot wounds. I saw a child, a 10 year old child whose head was blown apart, because he was standing next to pillar box where a moment of the IRA had misplaced the bomb. I’ve seen all these, and I work with these patients. Number one. I said in Southampton, I worked with young mad cow disease patients. And that’s because that mad cow disease affected young people. And they’re often 20s. And I saw these young people coming through sometimes university students who were struck down by this disease, and it’s horrible. And I remember going to the funeral of one of those patients. I said, I’ve been through all that. But I said nothing compared to the third thing I’ve been through, which was the inquest to Amin’s death. I said that was the most traumatic thing I’ve had in my NHS career. And so I said that to the minister, and they put it like that. And I think that and the 15 cases I presented, persuaded them. And a few days later, they ordered Imperial trusts have an independent inquiry into what happened to me.
Narinder Kapur 23:36
And Terry, and I, this was what this was just wonderful. You know, we got this independent right, this was the independent inquiry. We, Terry and I sat in the commissioning panel for the inquiry. And that inquiry report, which we knew was damning, damning of Imperial and impale all due credit to the Chief Executive of Imperial he issued an apology immediate apology and the cost Terry and I 10,000 pounds to have legal representation at the inquest, and all due credit to Imperial the reimbursement versus or legal expenses. And then we said it was obvious then to NHS improvement, though what happened in period was not probably not isolated. We went to Imperial again, with the evidence hours, we went to NHS improvement with the evidence and said, Look, this is obviously a widespread in the NHS. And so as the NHS improvement to the credit, they set up another commissioning panel to look at this divine diet. Is this the case? Yes, seems to be widespread in the NHS. And they then to then I hadn’t had a six month meeting of this meetings of this Christian plan to bring about major changes to how disciplinary procedures were in the NHS. Basically you had an apartheid system, the NHS, one system for doctors and dentists called MHPS, maintaining high professional standards, where there’s a large degree of fairness, fairness, plurality independence and expertise. Were on panels wasn’t perfect, but it was largely fair. But for others, for nurses, for psychologists, for other staff, there was no procedures, no national procedures, trust could do whatever they wanted. They wanted to set up an acceptable kangaroo court, they could do it. And that’s what they did, in many cases. That’s what they did, in Amin’s case, ultimately didn’t make it totally blatant. And so the NHS improvement panel, then set up recommendations, made recommendations for these key principles of morality, independent expertise, and other other recommendations for it to be much fair procedures. And they were sent out and thank goodness, we had two people and NHS improvement. Guido Berners, Lee to Harding, and Parana, Sr, the chief people officer. And they were both sympathetic and supportive. And they realized that what we were asking for was just simple fairness, simple common sense that we have these basic principles of fairness. And so these recommendations right there. During all this time, we had lots of meetings with Imperial, because Imperial, we’re then going to completely redo their policies and procedures. And we carry and I had lots of meetings with the HR director, and chief executive. And to be fair, they did then introduce new procedures, new, much fairer procedures. And so the imperial policy was a model policy, which NHS improvement could tell other trusts. Look, this is what employers doing, we expect you to do something similar. And so that then set in place the recommendations, and they’ve gone out there and so, but the recommendations are there, but there still is lots of unfairness for whistleblowers. And for BME staff, those two people are still victimized. The freedom to speak up guardians scheme has only been partially successful, because those who didn’t speak up guardians or employees of trusts were not independent. And so they’re always in difficult position. So that’s only had, I think, a minor effect. So there are still lots of doctors, lots of nurses, lots of other staff who are victimized or treated unfairly. We, I belong to a group called the doctors for the justice group, who meet regularly to discuss cases of unfairness. I’m on the BME advisory panel. Advisory Board, which advises to be the MC and BME issues and cases of unfairness keep coming up. I was involved in their main case. And tragically, another case came up a few years after I mean in 2018 have a consultant and this is the BME doctor who committed suicide after he was subjected to allegations by young patients. So basically, a young girl was going through an anesthetic for a dental procedure. And this anesthetic is known to generate hallucinations of a sexual nature. And that’s been documented. And after the anesthetic, or after anaesthetic was done, she made an allegation about the needs just saying that he had touched her breast.
Narinder Kapur 28:37
And even though there was no evidence for that there is no other independent evidence. And even though it was well known that this drug, or that she had could produce these hallucinations, this doctor was suspended on this. The doctor then was reported by the police to the GMC. And the day that this doctor, this Indian doctor received a letter from the GMC to say that he’d be investigated. He then drowned himself. He committed suicide. And then I remember then, people say it, people know me, and I’m involved in cases and they approached me to help his widow. I remember going to go to his widow. And I’ve helped his widow over the past few years. I went with her to the inquest into his death. And I helped try to bring about some changes to the system. We’re still, they’re still an ongoing case, this film has been produced about his case called multiple Jeopardy. It’s not yet publicly released, but it’s available. Somebody has produced a film about his case. So there are still cases of injustice going on. And in fact in the last few months in the BMJ there is medical journal December just especially for BMA doctors and there’s a particular case called the Dr. Aurora case, which is making headlines in British Columbia Medical Journal in the GMC. So regulatory bodies like the GMC have to do things, have to improve their or they do the but the NHS system still has to change these recommendations that NHS improvement brought about. They have to become requirements. no point having a recommendation that is just a recommendation, you can just ignore it that oh, well, we don’t well, it’s just a recommendation, we don’t have to. This CQC, the Care Quality Commission should have it as a requirement. And if it’s not implemented, they should find the trust. So there’s still some work to be done there. And I’m somewhat involved in one or two cases independent providers is in other areas. I mean, we talked with NHS, NHS, but independent providers can often do things without any concern for NHS guidance or policies, procedures or recommendations. And I’m involved in the case in moment where an independent provider more or less set up a kangaroo court or dismissed a neuropsychologist, somebody in my profession, and I’m supporting a person as he tries to fight that particular case. So there’s still unfairness out there. Because people cognitive bias, unfortunately, it’s just part of human nature can be and people and organizations that are just concerned about money and about the reputation, fairness, unfortunately, comes just much much lower in their list of priorities.
Narinder Kapur 31:31
So in the context of all that, then I’ve set up two schemes. I’ve set up one scheme, in memory of a doctor, Dr. Karen Wu, who was murdered in Afghanistan in 2010 after providing aid there, and my heart went out to her. I mean, obviously what happened to her is no comparison to what happened to me. But I have been out of my way to provide a high quality service at Darden, but making lots of sacrifices, lots of personal sacrifices, or what did Addenbrookes do to me, they stabbed me in the back. They punished me. And similar to Karen will return we went away to give aid to people in Afghanistan. I wanted these, I wasn’t a Taliban but with people related to the Taliban, what did they do? They murdered her about 10 other aid workers. And how more cruel can life be? Young doctor after providing aid after being sacked, but that wasn’t easy. They made a several day trek to a remote village in Afghanistan to provide aid and the way back, what did they get for doing that? They were murdered. And so I contacted Karen Wu’s Mom, just because I knew that currently there was a Karen Wu foundation that her mom has setup. And I just can’t talk and then that was the beginning of the relationship I had with that organization. And every year on Gandhi’s birthday, I went with Karen Wu’s mother and we made a donation heard from Dan the statue in London, as you know, several 1000 pounds. I have supported the current we foundation over the years which was support healthier the kind of kamistan but give support to her mother and their family. And so that Karen Wu’s message would still be out there. And so what I’ve done is I’ve set up a Karen Wu award, which means the which is 1000 pounds a year for 10 years, I funded it. And so that will support healthcare in Afghanistan, which is close to Karen Wu’s heart. And I want people to remember Karen Wu’s story. She was a UCL graduate. And she died making sacrifices. So that’s one scheme I’ve set up, then the other one is in Birmingham. I mean, I don’t want people to forget, I mean sacrifice, it should never have taken somebody to burn themselves to death. For the NHS to realize this system was incompetent and corrupt. I went in the hunger strike for five days outside of Department of Health. And I was just ignored. I was just the mad person going on a hunger strike. But why did it have to take somebody to burn themselves to death for then people to realize, Oh, hold on, something’s not quite right here. It should never have had to do that. So I want people to remember that. And remember, I mean story, remember his sacrifice. So we’ve set up the Amin Abdullah Award, which I’m very grateful to the Royal College of Nursing World College of Nursing Foundation to support this, they will be sponsoring it. Terry Skipper and I are contributing 10,000 pounds to this to fund it for 10 years. And that will support a nurse who support who is doing something to support the well being of her colleagues. That’s what Amin wanted. Amin, just wanted to help another nurse that was being unfairly criticized, and Amin just wanted to do something to support that nurse for that he was victimized and he was dismissed. So any nurse who goes out of their way to help other nurses, they will get this grant this award to help them with their work. We take some time to set this up, but thank goodness deleuzian To give it their backing and support. Terry and I are putting in 10,000 and British Indian Nurses Association, which is a part of the British Association of Physicians of Indian origin. They are providing. They’re providing their support for that they’re getting it they’re backing. So we’ll have their endorsement.
Narinder Kapur 35:46
And so that’s where we are at the moment, we’re still I still want to see changes, but about I want to see the Care Quality Commission split into one part dealing with patients. And the other part dealing with staff. There’s an organization called Healthwatch, which is concerned with patient care. I think that should be split into one part dealing with patients one part during the staff being the health care safety Investigation Branch was set up to look at patient safety incidents and lessons that can be learned. I think that should have a staffer being branch for people can look at incidents like what happened to Amin, like what happened to Dr. Suresh, and automatically carry out an independent inquiry, automatically find out what lessons can be learned. And so there should be mechanisms in place to learn lessons. It shouldn’t have to take people like Terry and me to have to go on a campaign to try to learn lessons. I think that managers need to be regulated, they’re not accountable. You try to refer Who do you refer a manager to? They set up a kangaroo court. Again, nobody you can refer them to. I am regulated by my professional body, a doctor’s regulated by their professional body, and nurses regulated by their professional body. A manager is regulated by nobody, that’s a nonsense.
Narinder Kapur 37:07
And under shipping, some sort of accreditation system independent with the CQC because CQC has got limited resources. professional bodies, like pathology, have been doing it for years, the pathology services and UK have annual accreditations or regular accreditations by a set body. And there should be regular accreditations of clinical services by professional bodies and that should include and conditions who are in management roles, who medical directors who behave like medical dictators, and encourage kangaroo courts like they did in my case, Jaga Wailea was the medical director at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in support of John Picard, to get set up a kangaroo court for me. And so this should be, you know, accreditation systems.
Narinder Kapur 37:59
I think that Department of Health officials should know more what’s happening on the ground, people who work in offices, and work in ministries of health, they should know what’s happening in the ground, they should go to Coroner’s inquests, they should go to Employment Tribunal hearings, they should go to disciplinary hearings, and see what actually happens on the ground. They shouldn’t just be sitting in their offices in a government building, you should know what’s happening. And we shouldn’t have to wait for people to send in protest letters, you send in a protest letter to a government department, it just goes into Whisper, whisper, but then these officials should know what’s happening on the ground. And they should be accountable as well, people in the Department of Health or in government departments who decide on these policies that decide whether you know, the CQC should be sticking to something they should be accountable if they decide to do nothing. Because if they’re the ones who decide on the legislation, and they’re this one who decides on national policies, and they decide over this unfairness there, which affects BME staff and whistleblower, let’s just forget about it.
Narinder Kapur 39:12
Those officials in government departments should be accountable. So that’s where we’re at at the moment, we’re still sort of some things to do. And they’re still unfairness and injustice out there. And is naturally balanced in all these situations. And you have to have a balance with sometimes staff wellbeing and patient safety. There may be a conflict between the two. And you may have to make some difficult decisions. I’m not saying these cases are just black and white. But I think there has to be a change. And I said, it’s not rocket science. And wherever whatever culture we’re in whatever country we’re in, if you follow the basic principles of truth and compassion, nothing more or less what Ghandi said. 100 years ago, truth and compassion. These are the important principles in life if you apply those, and we, as academics should apply science where the science is there, the science of cognitive bias, the science of unfairness, the science of trying to get people to do certain things, we can apply scientific principles to these things, then I think, hopefully that progress can be made. But there are so many steps to be undertaken. But I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I’ve managed to stay healthy and keeping the talent and the resources to do what I want to do. I’m grateful that I’ve had the support of colleagues over the years, my UCL colleagues have been fantastic. They’ve been very supportive. And, and I’m obviously wait for for that. And I’m grateful for those people in the Department of Health who did listen, who did set up the inquiry into a means and Amin’s death, and workflow to politicians like syndrome. And they did what they did. So there are some people who went out of their way to be supportive and helpful. And I remain thankful and grateful to them.
Nathan Illman 41:16
Well, on that note of gratitude Narinder, I’m extremely grateful for your candor and sharing your story and telling us about the case of Amin and others. And it’s, I find it very moving to hear more about exactly what went on. Of course, I’ve read some of this information before but it’s actually hear it from you it’s very emotive. Narinder, what I like to do my guests on this podcast is to ask for to share some practical advice on the issue that we’re talking about. So I wonder, given your experience and your knowledge of how the systems and processes work in the NHS, if there are people listening, who perhaps do feel that they’ve been treated unfairly? Or maybe there is some sort of disciplinary procedure that’s ongoing or about to happen, or there is some kind of whistleblowing concern? Do you have any kind of advice that you might like to share to those people or share with those people?
Narinder Kapur 42:12
Yeah, well, I think that I would say there are some basic principles of advice I would offer. First of all, get advice, get some independent expert advice from several people. Because if you’re involved in something, naturally, things will get quite emotional. And you’re often not be able to see things from maybe an unbiased angle. So make sure you get lots of expert advice. Some of that may be costly, but to do get that independent, external advice. Second thing is look after your physical and mental well being, because that’s key in these things, especially your mental well being. And if you, because if you’re distressed, if you’re not sleeping, then that’s going to affect your judgment and your thinking about things. I think those are the two key things. I think, obviously, you have to know, policies and procedures you have to know what legal situation is etc. You have to know maybe you have other similar cases which have gone on and see what lessons can be learned from those. Maybe organizations may help, could be, as I said, some doctors organizations or some other self help groups, which are out there. But I think the key thing is to help independent external advice. And to regard to your well being, there may be science out there, which may come to your help. And sometimes there is articles, written books written on some of these topics, some research has been done, and if so, then find out about that and search to try to have as much as many things evidence based as possible. And sometimes science based if you’re trying to make an argument. And I often tell people about the three P’s in life, and that’s my manual, Cambridge wellbeing, manual, whichever, yes, which is free to download at cambridgewellbeingmanual.com. And the three P’s are, be patient, be positive, and persevere. I say that to my patients all the time. I have to remind myself of that, that you’ll often get obstacles, you’ll often get setbacks, but you have to be patient, you have to be positive. And you have to persevere.
Nathan Illman 44:37
Narinder, listening to you and the actions that you’ve taken in service of the values and your own kind of sort of sense of morality is truly inspiring. I’m sure many people out there listening to this conversation will be inspired by the work that you’ve been doing, in spite of the challenges and multiple obstacles you’ve faced. So thank you very much for the work that you’ve done and that you continue to do. I personally really appreciate it. And I know that others will, too. Do you have any final kind of comments or remarks you’d like to share?
Narinder Kapur 45:11
Thanks for the opportunity to speak and if anybody wants to get in touch with me for any advice and support, happy to be contacted.
Nathan Illman 45:19
Actually, on that note, I mean, a great website that I’ve I’ve used when preparing for this and looking at some of your other work is a better NHS website that has actually spells out your all of the recommendations that you’ve, you’ve kind of summarized in this conversation. And there’s some other resources on there as well. So we’ll put those in the show notes for listeners to direct them towards some some useful websites to go to.
Narinder Kapur 45:45
Okay, thank you.
Nathan Illman 45:47
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I hope you found it as powerful and as moving as I did. So if you’re interested to find out more about myself and what I’m doing as part of nurse wellbeing mission, and the work that we do around preventative mental health for nurses and midwives, then head over to our website, nursewellbeingmission.com If you’re interested in joining our Facebook group, so you’re a nurse or midwife, who’d like to receive more resources around well being and see more clips on the podcast and other conversations around well being. Then just head over to Facebook and search for nurse and midwife wellbeing mission. As we mentioned, you can find information about Narinder and the Amin Abdullah award and the RCN foundation in the show notes. It was a real pleasure to bring you this as always, and I really look forward to bringing you the next episode. So make sure you subscribe on iTunes or whatever podcatcher you’re listening to this on. And if you’d liked it then leave us a review, leave a review for the episode already helped spread the word to other people and get this important information out there. Thanks and goodbye.
Nathan Illman 45:47