The Sound of Silence

I first heard this song in 1970, but had never fully appreciated the significance of the lyrics until Morecambe Bay NHS Trust attempted to conceal what I had reported to them.

Every effort was made to stop anyone from hearing what I had witnessed. When they had cheated and lied their way to overcoming my efforts to expose their failures to prioritise patient safety, they forced me, under financial duress, to sign a Compromise Agreement, complete with Confidentiality “Gagging” Clause. Mine was a “SUPERGAG“, by which I was forbidden to mention not only the events that had led to my problems, but also the existence of the Non-Disclosure Agreement itself!

At that time, the Trust’s much-trumpeted reputation could not be challenged. Silence thus preserved, they went on to record the highest Hospital Mortality Rate in the country. Board resignations, Coroners’ verdicts, Police investigations, Media revelations, NHS Watchdog inspection failures, Special Measures, DoH Inquiry and utter disgrace followed in rapid succession.

“Today, the name of Morecambe Bay has been added to a roll of dishonoured NHS names…” … Dr Kirkup, Chair of Morecambe Bay Investigation, March 2015

I have taken the liberty of editing the lyrics, though the words pretty much stand up for themselves.

The lookouts reported seeing an iceberg ahead...

“Silence like a cancer grows”

Hello, darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god Trust they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, “The words of the prophets whistleblower
Are written on the subway Facebook walls
And tenement Twitter halls scrolls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”


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