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Candidate to sue Lincolnshire health authority

24 April 10 10:35 GMT

The candidate standing as an Independent in the seat of Lincoln has said he plans to sue the health trust where he was chief executive.

Gary Walker, 39, is to pursue an unfair dismissal claim against United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mr Walker said he was asked to "compromise the safety of patients in order to achieve government targets" and made the claims publicly last July.

The trust said it had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Mr Walker said: "This is not about money, it is about a principle that patients come first and politicians are putting pressure on hospitals all across the country to hit thousands of targets that have led to patients dying such as [is] the case in Mid Staffordshire."

He is standing as a candidate against health minister Gillian Merron in the general election.

Accusations investigated

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: "Mr Walker was not dismissed as he claims, for being a whistle-blower but for gross misconduct.

"His initial accusations against NHS East Midlands were investigated and published in the Goodwin Report which cleared NHS East Midlands of any wrongdoing.

"United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has always put patient safety first, and will continue to do so.

On a recent visit to Lincoln, Health Secretary Andy Burnham told patients at Lincoln County Hospital targets to ensure shorter waiting times would be kept if Labour is re-elected.

Mr Burnham said national standards, like the 18-week treatment guarantee, were needed to protect patients.

But Lincoln's Liberal Democrat candidate Reg Shore said Labour had wasted money on managers and red tape.

He said: "We should free up the doctors and nurses to do their jobs, this would release funds for use on front line services."

And Conservative candidate Karl McCartney said NHS performance was declining despite a spending increase.

He said: "The Conservatives are saying they will remove our national standards in the NHS.

"I'm saying a national service needs national standards."

• The candidates for Lincoln are: Conservative: Karl McCartney; Labour: Gillian Merron; Lib Dem: Reg Shore; UKIP: Nick Smith; Independent: Gary Walker; BNP: Robert West.

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