The Times 25 June 2014
Jeremy Hunt has launched an independent review into whistleblowing in the NHS that will be led by the QC who ran the Mid Staffs inquiry.The health secretary pledged to protect NHS staff who speak out after a campaign led by six of the country’s best-known whistleblowers.
The review will be chaired by Sir Robert Francis, QC, whose report into the Mid Staffordshire scandal led to soul-searching in hospitals nationwide. Mr Hunt said the review would ensure that “where NHS whistleblowers are mistreated there are appropriate remedies for staff and accountability for those mistreating them”.
His announcement was welcomed by the six whistleblowers.Sharmila Chowdhury, who lost her job and may lose her home after whistleblowing at her NHS trust, said she was “the happiest girl in the world”.
Mark Porter, the chairman of the British Medical Association, said it would be a challenge to make sure that openness was seen “as a good thing in itself”.
The health secretary told The Times that doctors had become complacent about patient safety in some ways. As part of a wider effort to eliminate medical blunders, he wants patients to be shown an airline-style safety video when they go into hospital.
He said that after the Francis Report safety was recognised as as big a problem as compassion yet 5 per cent of hospital deaths in the NHS were avoidable.