Dr Henrietta Hughes started her £105,000-a-year position as National Guardian in October
The £105,000-a-year NHS tsar for whistleblowing has not investigated a single case, a Mirror probe reveals.
Last year health chiefs announced the National Guardian’s Office would help NHS staff raise concerns about patient neglect.
It was a measure demanded by Sir Robert Francis, who led the inquiry into 1,400 deaths at Stafford Hospital.
But we have learned National Guardian Dr Henrietta Hughes will not review any claims of poor practice until next year. She started in early October.
The first tsar Dame Eileen Sills quit in March before her April start date after the Mirror revealed she would work just two days a week.
Dr Hughes insisted her cases would be decided by a “stakeholder advisory group”, which involves people with experience of whistleblowing.
But her office admitted this was “in development” and will not be established “until early in the New Year”.
Blasting the delays, Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb MP described the project as a “damp squib”.
He added: “This astounding failure to investigate a single case, 18 months after the role was first announced, means patient safety is being put at continued risk.”
Dr Minh Alexander, who revealed suicides at a mental health trust in Cambridgeshire, added: “I remain highly sceptical that the National Guardian’s office is any more than a wasteful publicity stunt.”
And Professor Sir Brian Jarman, who helped expose the Stafford Hospital scandal, said: “The National Guardian seems to be progressing at glacial speed.”
In response to the Mirror’s investigation, Dr Hughes told us: “I am committed to creating a culture of openness within the NHS where staff are encouraged to raise concerns, so that lessons can be learned and care improved as a result.
“Since starting my role in October, my office has begun to do this already by developing a network of freedom-to-speak-up guardians across NHS trusts, who are there to enable staff to raise concerns about patient safety and to advise and support staff who seek to do so.”