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Preet Gill calls for public inquiry into patient safety at University Hospitals Birmingham

The Birmingham MP Preet Gill has called on the UK health secretary to launch a major public inquiry into allegations that a bullying and a toxic culture is risking patient safety at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB).

The MP for Edgbaston, where UHB is based, said she had received complaints from staff alleging elderly patients had been left on beds in corridors outside wards due to mismanagement, and medics were discouraged from speaking out about problems.

In a letter to Steve Barclay, seen by the Guardian, Gill said: “I have been inundated by messages from UHB staff, past and present, who have contacted me to share their experience of what has been repeatedly described as a toxic culture that has had an alarming impact on staff and patient care.”

After an investigation by BBC Newsnight earlier this month, which found that doctors at the trust were “punished” for raising safety concerns, the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board (ICB) announced a three-part review into the culture at UHB. The first report is expected at the end of January.

But Gill criticised the plans, saying she did not think it would “be sufficient to adequately investigate this scandal”, and instead called for a major independent public inquiry, similar to the 2013 Francis inquiry into the Stafford hospital scandal.

“We cannot rely on an ICB investigation to solve this issue. Many of those on the ICB are former members of the senior leadership team from UHB and would not offer the independence required to recommend the changes that are so needed or give confidence to whistleblowers,” she said.

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Source: The Guardian, 19 December 2022


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