Update 22nd September 2014: Chris Smyth reports in The Times: NHS whistleblowers are ‘still subject to bullying’
Whistleblowers still face real problems in speaking out in the health service – despite the push to create a more open culture, campaigners say. Patients first has yet to demand open exit interviews – which would make a really positive contribution to the cultural change that is needed urgently. Meanwhile doctors continue to leave the different Regions of the UK. (NHS suffers ‘brain drain’ of doctors – FT.com 24th August 2012). This is similar to Africa (Study highlights scale of African doctors ‘brain drain‘ – FT.com 18th September 2013).
Promoting whistleblowing was a key recommendation of the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal.
A number of steps have since been taken in England, but Patients First warned that a “culture of fear” still existed.
It has produced a dossier of 70 cases, highlighting problems like bullying and mismanagement of complaints.
The document is being handed in as part of Patients First’s submission to an independent review of whistleblowing, which was set up by the Department of Health in England and is being led by Sir Robert Francis, who was in charge of the Stafford public inquiry.
Nearly half the cases are continuing, but Patients First said all had suffered some loss either professionally, personally or financially.
In 79% of cases, the whistleblower had experienced bullying and in a fifth of cases the individual had run out of money or was unable to access legal advice, the dossier – which also included some Scottish cases – said.
It concluded there was a “real and continuing problem over the treatment of those who raise concerns”……