HSE Forum at Kells demands the reinstatement of Ms Bayliss the pied piper of Brendan’s. Christy Burke sings his song!

Hospital whistleblower reinstated

KITTY HOLLAND

A “whistleblower” who was dismissed from her post as a trainee
advocate after publicly expressing concern for the welfare of female
patients at St Brendan’s Hospital in Grangegorman has been reinstated.

Louise Bayliss, a single mother from Dublin who had been training as
an advocate with the Irish Advocacy Network, will resume training but
will not be permitted back into hospital wards until her training is
complete.

She will also be required to comply fully with the network’s code of
practice which states advocates must raise any concern with their
immediate superior first, and they must not take action including
speaking out publicly, unless asked to do so by the network or a
patient.

Following public and political disquiet at Ms Bayliss’s dismissal last
Tuesday, the network yesterday offered to reinstate her.

In early December she spoke on RTÉ’s Liveline, drawing attention to
the closure of an “open” unit for female patients in St Brendan’s
Hospital over Christmas, the separation of the patients from each
other over the holiday period and their consequent distress.

She was removed from ward work some days later and was last week told
as there were insufficient resources to finish her training she was
being let go.

TDs Joe Costello, Richard Boyd Barrett and Derek Keating were among
those who called for her reinstatement.

Today, Colette Nolan, chief executive of the network, said: “After
more in-depth and intensive consultation with colleagues in the
organisation over the last few days we realise we made an error in
this regard.”

A spokeswoman explained in recent years trainee advocates were also
working on the wards “to fill gaps in our service provision” due to
“pressure” on the organisation.

“Having thought about it IAN concluded it was not her [Ms Bayliss’s]
fault she breached the code of conduct. She didn’t actually know and
she under the old training model shouldn’t have been on the wards. So
the network is going back to old model where it’s all completed in a
classroom setting.”

A new training programme would be put in place from the end of February.

Ms Bayliss said she was “delighted” to get her job back though would
not want it with “undue restrictions” on her.

“I’m delighted IAN has taken this decision. I look forward to working
with them long-term and I hope it will be a healthy and a constructive
relationship for both of us

“What was done to me was wrong but what was wrong but what was done to
the patients is an awful lot worse.”

Whistleblower support organisation Transparency International Ireland,
said Ms Bayliss’s case was “only the tip of the iceberg”.

Chief executive John Devitt said: “We have been receiving calls from
whistleblowers who have been dismissed for raising concerns about
everything from patient safety to fraud.”

He called on all employers to promote whistleblowing at work and on
the Government to introduce a whistleblower law that would protect
workers.