News

Pioneering safe staffing whistleblower nurse dies aged 91

Graham Pink's campaigning helped establish the protections whistleblowers receive today
Picture shows Graham Pink at his home in Manchester in January 2008

Graham Pink's campaigning helped establish the protections whistleblowers receive today

A nurse who was among the first in the UK to blow the whistle on safe staffing issues has died aged 91.

Graham Pink first raised concerns about poor staffing and the dangers to patients when he worked at Stepping Hill Hospital in Greater Manchester in 1990. His four-year campaign to highlight inadequate staffing levels made a lasting impression on the nursing profession. Mr Pink died on 6 March in Barnsley, South Yorkshire .

Nurses caring for him remembered his safe staffing campaign

Speaking to Nursing Standard about his final months, his niece and carer Sarah Pink said: Barnsley Hospital

Graham Pink's campaigning helped establish the protections whistleblowers receive today

Picture shows Graham Pink at his home in Manchester in January 2008
Graham Pink at his home in Manchester in January 2008 Picture: Neil O'Connor

A nurse who was among the first in the UK to blow the whistle on safe staffing issues has died aged 91.

Graham Pink first raised concerns about poor staffing and the dangers to patients when he worked at Stepping Hill Hospital in Greater Manchester in 1990. His four-year campaign to highlight inadequate staffing levels made a lasting impression on the nursing profession. Mr Pink died on 6 March in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Nurses caring for him remembered his safe staffing campaign

Speaking to Nursing Standard about his final months, his niece and carer Sarah Pink said: ‘Barnsley Hospital gave him a lot of care and attention and treated him with a huge amount of respect. There were nurses caring for him who said they knew him from what he did and how he stood up for the NHS back then. One sister said it was an honour to meet him and take care of him.’

Graham Pink seeking support for his safe staffing campaign, which ran from 1990-94

Mr Pink’s campaign to focus attention on safer staffing included contacting the media, picketing and writing letters to the hospital management and the prime minister. He was aware he might lose his job but was undeterred.

Another niece, Mary Flemming, said: ‘I remember him telling other nurses not to worry. I think he might have done better if they had all gone on strike with him, but they had families and young children to look after and he knew it wasn’t fair to expect them to do the same. Although I know they all did agree with what he was doing.’

Nurse Pink’s ‘truth telling’ resulted in him being wrongly dismissed

As a result of his ‘truth telling’, as he called it, he was dismissed by his employer. However, as he did not receive a formal warning beforehand, the dismissal was deemed wrongful and he received compensation.

It is widely believed that Mr Pink’s campaigning and his subsequent treatment played a vital part in establishing the protections whistleblowers receive today. He went on to detail his personal account in the book A Time to Speak, published by the RCN.

He told Nursing Standard in 2013: ‘I hope my book will encourage nurses and the public to speak out.’


Find out more

Graham Pink (2013) A Time to Speak: Diary of an NHS Whistleblower


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs