Mr Charlie Chan (Surgeon) writes in letters to the BMJ: Whistleblowing in the NHS – The need to regulate non-clinical hospital managers (BMJ 2015;350:h2769) NHSreality agrees.
Non-clinical hospital managers are the only group of NHS professionals without a regulatory body. Although clinical hospital managers are professionally accountable to their regulatory bodies (such as the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council), non-clinical managers are not.
Regulation 5 of the Care Quality Commission sets out “Fit and proper persons” standards for hospital directors,1 but no such standards exist for the vast cohort of senior and middle managers, who are not board members. So what sanctions might exist for hospital managers who repeatedly ignore issues about patient safety?2
Concerns about patient welfare are usually first raised with departmental managers, who are often non-clinical. If non-clinical managers were bound by a professional accountable body to act always in the best interests of patients, they would be more likely to listen and act. Doctors and nurses would be able to refer relevant hospital managers to an accountable body if the reformed NHS whistleblowing system ignored patient safety.
This regulatory change for hospital managers is long overdue and would give increased confidence to all who care for patients.