§ 13. Mr. Fatchett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations she has received about the employment protection of national health service staff who disclose information about internal affairs within the national health service, other than information related to patient confidentiality.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Representations have been received recently from hon. Members, staff representative associations, and national health service employees. These have concerned both the general principles governing expression by NHS staff of professional concerns about health service issues, and the personal cases of some NHS employees.
§ Madam Speaker
Order. I should be much obliged if the House would settle down. It is impossibly noisy and very hard work for hon. Members who are trying to ask questions and for Ministers who are trying to reply.
§ Mr. Fatchett
Is the Secretary of State aware of the case of Dr. Chris Chapman, a biochemist who faces redundancy tomorrow at the Leeds general infirmary? His only offence was to tell the truth about scientific fraud and financial irregularities. While Dr. Chapman is to be sacked, those who have committed the frauds and financial irregularities will remain in their jobs. They prosper and have been promoted. They include Mr. Stuart Ingham. the £90,000-a-year chief executive of the Leeds General Infirmary Trust. Will the Secretary of State now agree to set up a full public inquiry into Dr. Chapman's case? Or is she just happy to see a man of integrity lose his job, pension and livelihood while those responsible for his sacking remain in their posts and prosper?
§ Mrs. Bottomley
The matters to which the hon. Gentleman refers have, of course, been investigated by the independent auditors, and any new evidence has also been referred to them. It would be quite inappropriate for me to instigate an inquiry into an individual case where there are already statutory rights of appeal. Dr. Chapman has the right to take his case to an industrial tribunal. He has a right of appeal under the Employment Protection Act 1975, which I understand he has not yet exercised. Until he has done so, it certainly would not be appropriate to discuss the matter in the House.