"It’s out there now": Peter Duffy speaks to The Mail about his year and success as an author – NW Evening Mail

Posted: January 9, 2020 at 6:49 am


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UROLOGIST Peter Duffy wentfrom personal and professional devastation to runaway success as an author in 2019.

At the beginning of 2019, it appeared the surgeons story - a winding saga that saw him lurch from being voted Furness General Hospitals Doctor of the Year to finding himself apariah within the NHS - had largely drawn to a close.

Months before, an employment tribunal found that he had been unfairly dismissed by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), seeming to conclude a long and bitter dispute - one which, besides uprooting him from his family,had threatened to crush the medicfinancially and psychologically.

Yet the publication of a book chronicling his experiences as a whistleblower and lifting the lid on alleged failings in UHMBTs urology services stretching back over a decade propelled him back into the headlines lastsummer.

This, alongwith the failings pointed to in the book, has all been documented thanks to an extensive Mail investigation by Chief Reporter Amy Fenton.

Having left family and friends and relocated to the Isle of Man in order to continue practising, Mr Duffy explains that most of what would become Whistle in the Wind was written on the Ben-my-Chree ferry, a three-and-a-half hour crossing back to Lancaster and his family.

Id just get out my laptop and tap out another half a chapter or so, he says. Around three months later he already had the bare bones of a draft.

By April time the book was more or less finished and just needed some proofreading as well as a legal opinion to make sure I didnt leave myself wide open to any defamation claims. And then it was just a question of getting it formatted to go up onto Amazon."

UHMBT finally called an external review into its urology services last year, after the books revelations saw dozens of affected patients come forward to The Mail alleging appalling and, in some cases, fatal care.

The book has continued to resonate with readers within and beyond the Furness area, with the title chalking up some 8,000 sales since publication numbers that Mr Duffy says have gone beyond his "wildest expectations."

I remember thinking, If it sells more than 1,000 copies in its entire lifetime, that Id be ecstatic. So for it to sell more than 7,500 copies in its first six months wasincredible.

"There was a point when, around the time the frontline staff at Morecambe Bay got wind ofit, the book got as high as number 58 in the Amazon best-selling titles rankings. That was quite a surreal moment."

But he still believes Whistle in the Winds material has some distance left to run.

If it wasnt for the fact that I did manage to get the book out, so much of this wouldve stayed hidden. At the heart of it there are two deaths that I personally feel may tip over into medical manslaughter. Obviously youd need a criminal court to decide on that.

But certainly one case covered inthe book compares almost identically to a similar casewhere the consultant ended up with a custodial sentence.

UHMBTs chief executive, Aaron Cummins, has said: The trust has asked NHS England to carry out an external independent investigation into concerns surrounding the urology service.

I have met with Peter and have assured him of our intention to continue to be open and transparent and we hope Mr Duffys concerns will be addressed within the work of the investigation.

Despite the lip service Mr Duffy says is paid to protecting NHS whistleblowers the 58-year-old surgeon still believes he has not yet seen a meaningful change in the way they are treated.

If this continues to be the case, he hints another book could soon be in the works.

He said: I think its shameful that the NHS just fought me all the way through this, trying to silence me and gag me and threaten me.

Even in the course of the employment tribunal the true facts didnt come out.

Under the current system, the tribunal is not so much interested in the whistleblowing - its interested in destroying the character of the whistleblower.

So, had it not been for the book and for Amy Fentons work, obviously, all of this wouldve been buried and concealed forever.

At least there has been a belated realisation that these are serious issues.

And I think it is good the NHS hasnt managed to cover this one up. Its out there now.

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"It's out there now": Peter Duffy speaks to The Mail about his year and success as an author - NW Evening Mail

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:49 am

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