Public health director says he has been bullied for criticising health bill

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 24 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1387
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

John Ashton, the NHS public health director who was summoned by bosses to explain why he signed a letter to the press criticising government health reforms, says he has been “bullied” for expressing free speech.

Professor Ashton is seeking a personal apology from Andrew Lansley, claiming the health secretary’s department was behind the formal letter he received from NHS Cumbria that called him to a meeting and warned that he could be in breach of the NHS code of conduct.

Professor Ashton told the BMJ he did not want the primary care trust nor its chief executive Sue Page to be criticised over the letter, saying, “I know this was not initiated by the PCT …

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