Ig­nore staff tip-offs at your peril

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

THE rev­e­la­tions about the treat­ment of pa­tients at Gosport Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal high­lights again that fail­ing to listen to what whis­tle-blow­ers have to say can have cat­a­strophic re­sults.

Those of us that run busi­nesses con­stantly have in­for­ma­tion pre­sented by a va­ri­ety of peo­ple, both in­side and out­side the com­pa­nies we run. Much of it is tit­tle-tat­tle cre­ated by per­sons with a so-called griev­ance, or who for in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, wish to have a stir that might do them per­son­ally some good.

The prob­lem is, that it is very nec­es­sary to care­fully in­ves­ti­gate every ref­er­ence, and this can be some­what time-con­sum­ing. By way of il­lus­tra­tion, many years ago, a mem­ber of staff came and whis­pered in my ear that an em­ployee, a very good worker, and some­body that had been with the com­pany for many years, was tak­ing home every night in his sand­wich box, brass, cop­per and bronze pierc­ing bits, about 7lbs a night in weight. It took some six weeks be­fore I had the ev­i­dence to con­front the man, time that could have been well spent do­ing more im­por­tant work, but it was vi­tal that this mat­ter was dealt with.

The vast amount of so-called in­for­ma­tion has been man­u­fac­tured tales with lit­tle sub­stance, cre­ated by those with a hid­den agenda. How­ever, on at least six oc­ca­sions dur­ing the last 60 years, crimes against my com­pany had been com­mit­ted, and I have been very grate­ful for the tip-offs.

In the Gosport case, mat­ters are cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, so com­men­ta­tors must be very care­ful. Suf­fice to say, that pay­ing at­ten­tion to peo­ple with dis­turb­ing in­for­ma­tion, how­ever dif­fi­cult it is to be­lieve, and how­ever in­con­ve­nient in terms of time and money, con­cerns raised must be in­ves­ti­gated to de­ter­mine the truth or oth­er­wise.

Fail­ure to act can have dis­as­trous re­sults, as in this hor­rific hospi­tal case, re­sult­ing in the short­en­ing of very many lives. So per­haps when the next piece of un­likely in­for­ma­tion comes your way, rather than just dis­miss­ing it, a lit­tle time on re­search might be ben­e­fi­cial in the long term. Rus­sell Luck­ock is chair­man of Birm­ing­ham press­ings firm AE Har­ris

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