Police call off hunt for University Hospital of North Staffordshire whistle-blower
POLICE have dropped the search for a hospital worker who blew the whistle on a doctor who faced negligence allegations.
The search was launched after documents were leaked from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) showing how colleagues of brain specialist Dr Changez Jadun, below, had raised fears over the safety of his work.
The material revealed that a review found some of his practices to be 'negligent'.
He was suspended from operating on patients in late 2010 and although a subsequent investigation by a national expert cleared him, his relationship with colleagues in the same department was so poor it was putting patients at risk.
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UHNS bosses brought in the police because the documents contained confidential details of patients and that broke the Data Protection Act.
They also claimed the Misuse of Computers Act was breached as the information was leaked by e-mail to The Sentinel last April.
The criminal probe started with a court order to force an internet provider to reveal the owner of an email address suspected of being the source of the top-secret documents.
Detectives also served an order on The Sentinel to hand over the material.
But it emerged last night that the inquiry had been dropped after drawing a blank. The decision was welcomed by a leading member of a health watchdog group.
David Becket, former chairman of Newcastle Borough Council health scrutiny committee, said: "If the hospital was ever to have good staff relationships it had to get the police inquiry dropped. That's why our committee had asked the trust to put a stop to it.
"We have been told by officials at UHNS that this has now happened and as a result we have found there has already been an improvement in working relations there.
"It can now get on with the process of rebuilding confidence in the department involved."
A senior hospital source confirmed the police had dropped their investigation because it had been unable to pin-point the source of the leak.
The move comes as Dr Jadun, who lives in Newcastle, is about to return to work at UHNS after spending months at a hospital in Leeds as part of his 'reorientation' process.
The consultant uses keyhole techniques to treat brain illnesses without the need for a full operation.
Despite bringing in the police, UHNS chief executive Julia Bridgewater said she encourages staff members to whistle blow on poor performing colleagues.
She only turned to the law because the leaked material illegally identified patients.
The case has resulted in a new monthly committee meeting to decide if any issues among the 6,000-plus staff need to go to the trust's board. Police have declined to comment on the investigation.