Saturday, 8 October 2011

Whistleblowers in Healthcare (11/8/11)

I mentioned the brilliant item on the One Show re whistleblowers in a previous post. The gentleman interviewed by the presenters made some important points concerning the safeguarding of patients. He argued that:
- doctors and nurses have an ethical duty to act if they think their patients are being harmed
- managers should not ignore whistleblowers
I completely agree. He also provided some guidance as to where concerns should be taken:
- feedback to the hospital
- contact the care quality Commission
- contact the patients association

This is all well and good. But do we not just return again to the question: what about the people raising the concerns? Will they have to worry about their job security? 'The Small Places' has raised an other interesting point on Twitter:

"Another perverse effect of closing Rose Villa may be to discourage whistleblowers: all staff would lose their jobs when services are closed."

The whole idea of a 'need' for 'whistleblowing' at all seems wrong to me; something is wrong at a fundamental level. What do you think?


  1. I was told an interesting piece of information about the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) today which made me think even more about reasons individuals are reluctant to complain about maltreatment in hospital settings. The lady I was speaking to explained that during her most recent stay in hospital the level of care she received was far below adequate (the details of which I cannot relay here). Her family had become concerned about her treatment and approached the PALS service, in the belief that PALS can 'help resolve concerns or problems when you are using the NHS.' Unfortunately, for the patient, the PALS representative who approached her was the sister on the ward; one of the individuals who had been providing the poor healthcare, and one of the ones she wished to complain about! I don't know whether this is the practice around the country - I would be interested to hear if it is the case. If so, it seems to me rather unfair and could add to the widespread reluctance to complain. Surely there should be a more 'independent' person to deal with such matters. Do you agree?

  2. 9/9/11
    New ECtHR case law: Heinisch v. Germany: recognition of vulnerability Read article at: