When nurse Jacky Moskovits departed east Kent hospitals after calling boss Matthew Kershaw a “D***HEAD” on Facebook in September, she probably knew that her employment there was drawing to a close.
As the Canterbury Journal exclusively revealed yesterday, the health trust fired the 59-year-old from Wincheap in November after proving a case of gross misconduct.
The reality is, however, that the trust had got sick of Jacky speaking her mind about issues at the beleaguered Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Ethelbert Road.
Bosses were already pursuing her for comments she had made earlier in the year about its over-stretched and under-manned emergency centre.
The trust later castigated her because it thought “this was not an appropriate way to raise your concerns”.
But it is this single sentence in its dismissal letter to Jacky that truly reflects the trust’s mentality:
“The incident occurred at a time when the Trust was under extreme scrutiny from the CQC [Care Quality Commission] and this type of information could bring the Trust into disrepute if it had been viewed by the CQC or the public.”
In other words, the trust doesn’t want “information” – facts – reaching either the public which pays for and relies upon the health service nor the CQC which monitors its performance.
All that matters is that the trust appears to be performing well rather than actually doing so. It is desperate to create an image which will see it pass an inspection.
That a nurse working long hard hours on the frontline tending should have the temerity to make the public aware of conditions in the hospital is an abomination in the eyes of senior managers.
Now let’s ask ourselves why. The obvious answer is that managers obsessively want to protect their reputations and salaries and will do whatever they can to do so, including scapegoating their inferiors.
By threatening staff who speak out with disciplinary action, it aims to prevent the public from hearing about conditions for both patients and staff in the hospital.
This is despicable. Patients, most of whom cherish the health service and are happy to pay their taxes for it, have every right to know what is going on inside it.
The most ludicrous aspect of this is that unless you’ve been a hermit living in an east Kent cave for the last few years, you will know exactly what conditions are like in our hospitals with the massive waits for treatment and the staff at breaking point.
But the good news is that Jacky’s story came out, she has been inundated with support.
The general public recognises the importance of speaking up. It’s high time for those in charge to do so, too.