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Found 387 results
  1. News Article
    The boss of a hospital trust being investigated by police for alleged negligence over 40 patient deaths has been accused of sending a hypocritical email urging staff to have the courage to raise concerns despite the dismissal of whistleblowing doctors. The investigation, Operation Bramber, was sparked by two consultants who lost their jobs after raising concerns about deaths and patient harm in the general surgery and neurosurgery departments of the Royal Sussex County hospital in Brighton. In an email to staff on Friday, the chief executive, George Findlay, said the trust was committed to learning from its mistakes. He said: “When things do go wrong, we must be open, learn and improve together. That openness is how we give people courage to raise concerns and make a positive difference to patient care.” James Akinwunmi, a consultant neurosurgeon who was unfairly dismissed by the trust in 2014 after he raised the alarm about patient safety, said Findlay’s email was “laughable”. He told the Guardian: “Whistleblowers, including myself, have done exactly what he is encouraging in the email and they were sacked for it, so you can draw your own conclusions. I suspect what they are doing is damage limitation. Instead, they should be dealing with surgeons who have been a problem for years.” Another more recent whistleblower, who did not want to be named, expressed incredulity at Findlay’s claim that he wanted to encourage staff to raise concerns. They said: “The email is hypocritical. How can staff have the ‘courage to raise concerns’ after what has happened to those who have? Those brave enough to blow the whistle about patient safety have been sanctioned, lost their job and had their lives destroyed.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 December 2023
  2. Content Article
    The first 14 minutes of this programme are focused on a Newsnight investigation into allegations of cover-up, avoidable harm and patient deaths relating to University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. At the time of broadcast, Sussex Police were investigating 105 claims of alleged medical negligence at the Trust.
  3. Content Article
    Hospital leaders need to embed a safety culture across their organisations - read the latest guest blog on the Patient Safety Commissioner website from Maria Caulfield, the minister for mental health and women's health strategy. Maria gives three examples of how we are advancing patient safety across our NHS.
  4. News Article
    Police are investigating 105 cases of alleged medical negligence at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton amid claims of a cover-up. Specialist officers from the National Crime Agency and Sussex police are looking into cases of harm, which include at least 40 deaths, in the general surgery and neurosurgery departments between 2015 and 2021. An email from Sussex police, released to The Times after a court application, revealed the huge investigation is looking into 84 cases connected to neurology and 21 related to gastroenterology. Most of the families are yet to be told that their case is among them. Officers were called in by the senior coroner after she heard of allegations made by two consultant surgeons at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS organisations with 20,000 staff. The trust has been accused of bullying the whistleblowers and attempting to cover up the circumstances of the deaths. Mansoor Foroughi, a consultant neurosurgeon, was sacked for “acting in bad faith” in December 2021 after raising concerns about 19 deaths and 23 cases of serious patient harm. Another whistleblower, Krishna Singh, a consultant general surgeon, claimed that he lost his post as clinical director because he said the trust promoted insufficiently competent surgeons, introduced an unsafe rota and had cut costs too quickly. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 27 November 2023
  5. Content Article
    If we are to continue improving healthcare services, then developing cultural change in healthcare is crucial. Improving the quality of care, reducing medical errors and, ultimately, enhancing patient outcomes is essential for the future. Transforming the culture within healthcare organisations requires a comprehensive approach that involves leadership commitment, employee engagement, continuous education and a focus on patient-centred care.  In a two-part blog for the hub, Dawn Stott, Business Consultant and former CEO of the Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP), talks about the strategies that can help you develop cultural change in your organisation. In part one, Dawn sets out the steps to develop a programme of change to support you to achieve good solutions.
  6. Content Article
    Richard von Abendorff, an outgoing member of the Advisory Panel of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), has written an open letter to incoming Directors on what the new Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) needs to address urgently and openly to become an exemplary investigatory safety learning service and, more vitally, how it must not contribute to compounded harm to patients and families. The full letter is attached at the end of this page.
  7. Content Article
    Whistleblowing presentation from Peter Duffy to the Association for Perioperative Practice, September 2022. York University.
  8. Content Article
    Professor Jane Somerville, emeritus professor of cardiology at Imperial College, talks about the issues facing doctors who raise concerns about patient safety issues in the NHS. She shares her views on the risks facing doctors who speak up and the ways that healthcare managers treat whistle blowers. She also highlights issues in the employment tribunal system and outlines the need to regulate NHS managers. In the video, Jane mentions the employment tribunal of Dr Martyn Pitman. Since this interview was recorded, Dr Pitman lost the case he brought for retaliatory victimisation.
  9. Content Article
    The government recently published terms of reference for the Thirlwall Inquiry following the crimes committed by former neonatal nurse Lucy Letby while working for the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. As well as examining the detail of the offences, the inquiry will also probe whether the trust’s culture, management, governance structures and processes contributed to the failure to protect babies. In the wake of this tragedy, it became apparent that staff had sounded the alarm about Lucy Letby, but that their concerns were not acted on. The case has propelled the issue of NHS management structures and the regulation of managers back into the headlines and made it the subject of political debate. 
  10. News Article
    The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA), a hospital doctors union, has called for an independent body to register and monitor cases where doctors raise safety concerns and for criminal charges to be brought against trusts when whistleblowers suffer harm. Naru Narayanan, president of HCSA, called for the changes after a survey found that doctors worry that speaking up about patient safety will put their careers at risk and that the creation of freedom to speak up guardians in 2016 has not increased their confidence. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 13 November 2023
  11. Content Article
    This episode of ITV Tonight, a British current affairs investigative series, focuses on the treatment of whistleblowers who raise patient safety concerns in the NHS. It is hosted by Paul Brand, UK editor of ITV News, and Dr Ravi Jayaram, one of the doctors who helped expose the former nurse convicted of murdering seven babies at Countess of Chester Hospital, Lucy Letby.
  12. Content Article
    In this opinion piece, BMJ journalist Clare Dyer examines how the healthcare system is grappling with the question of how Lucy Letby was allowed to get away with killing babies in plain sight for so long. She looks at culture and governance issues that meant that concerns raised by consultants were not appropriately acted on.
  13. Content Article
    In this article Sir Bernard Jenkin, Member of Parliament for Harwich and North Essex, considers the role of new statutory body to investigate patient safety concerns across England to improve NHS care at a national level, the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB). He talks about the new “safe space” powers of the organisation and its intended role in the healthcare system.
  14. News Article
    An NHS hospital has been accused of posing a continuing risk to patients by “covering up” leadership failures, including not properly investigating the deaths of two babies. Dr Max Mclean, chairman of Bradford Teaching Hospitals trust, has quit in protest at the conduct of the trust’s chief executive, Professor Mel Pickup, after no action was taken over serious concerns about her performance. In a blistering resignation letter, Mclean said he “cannot, in good conscience, work with a CEO who has fallen so short of the standards expected of her role that there is a genuine safety risk to patients and colleagues”. He is calling for senior national NHS figures to establish new leadership at the trust, and has written to the head of NHS England to share his concerns about Pickup, who has been in post since 2019. Mclean told The Times there were parallels with the Lucy Letby scandal, when management ignored the concerns of whistleblowers. “Patients are at risk, babies are at risk, and there could be avoidable deaths unless there is a change of leadership,” he said. The former detective chief superintendent who has chaired the trust since 2019, raised nine serious issues about Pickup’s performance, which he said were confirmed by an independent investigation that concluded last month. However, the trust’s board met on October 2 and decided there would be no further action against Pickup, leaving Mclean with “no option” but to resign and speak publicly. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 10 October 2023
  15. Content Article
    Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It can affect anyone of any age. It happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs. Sepsis is sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning. According to the UK Sepsis Trust, 48,000 people in the UK die of sepsis every year. This number can and should be reduced. It is often treatable if caught quickly. This report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman(PHSO) looks at some of the sepsis complaints people have brought to PHSO, to shine a light on their experiences and encourage others to let their voices be heard. It shares case summaries and guidance to help people complain and help NHS organisations understand and learn from the issues raised Further reading on the hub: Top picks: Six resources about sepsis
  16. Content Article
    In this opinion piece for the BMJ, Rammya Mathew talks about the limits of a no blame culture in identifying where harm is being caused by a clinician. "The Letby case is an extreme example of the shortcomings of a “no blame” culture. When things go wrong we’re encouraged to always support staff and ensure that no one feels implicated. It’s as though only systems and processes can be criticised, and discussing the possibility of individual accountability is considered “off grounds.”
  17. Content Article
    The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) and the Office of the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (CAHPO) have launched three publications aimed at reducing misogyny and improving sexual safety in the ambulance service.
  18. Content Article
    The UK government's commitment to implement “Martha’s rule,” is good news for patients. It will give patients and their families an explicit right to request a second opinion if a patient’s health condition is getting worse and they feel their concerns are not being taken seriously. However, all patients are familiar with the power imbalance when they encounter health professionals.  Patients and carers are key partners in the quest to make care safer, argues Tessa Richards in this BMJ opinion piece. Although actively co-designing research and policy on patient safety with patients and carers is now widely seen as best practice, there is still a long way to go. In her article, Tessa highlights two recent webinars with Henrietta Hughes, Patient Safety Commissioner, who is responsible for implementing Martha’s rule in NHS hospitals, and discusses patient advocacy and the new Patient Safety Partners. Watch the Patient Safety Learning webinar with Henrietta Hughes.
  19. Content Article
    Throughout October’s Speak Up Month, the National Guardian for the NHS, Dr Jayne Chidgey-Clark will be in conversation with guests who have their own speaking up stories and reflecting on how we can break the barriers they faced to make a better and safer speaking up culture across healthcare in England.
  20. News Article
    Former police officers, including a murder detective, have been hired by NHS hospitals in a move that campaigners have warned risks discouraging whistleblowers. The Sunday Telegraph has revealted that retired officers have been employed by a trust currently under scrutiny for its treatment of doctors who raise patient safety concerns. One of them has taken up a patient safety incident investigator role worth up to £57,349 a year. Meanwhile a senior detective has been called into multiple trusts on an ad hoc basis to conduct investigations. Last night a leading patient group called on the NHS to be transparent about exactly how such personnel are being used, “given the ongoing concerns about how such roles interact with whistleblowers”. Paul Whiteing, chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), said: “We at AvMA welcome any steps taken by Trusts to professionalise the investigation of patient safety incidents. This is long overdue. “But given the on-going concerns about how such roles interact with whistleblowers, to maintain trust and confidence of all of the staff, trusts need to be clear, open and transparent about why they are making such appointments and the role and duties of those they employ to fulfil them, whatever their backgrounds.” Campaigners have warned that some NHS trusts deliberately seek to conflate patient safety issues with staff workplace investigations. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 30 September 2023
  21. Content Article
    This post is a transcript of an interview on Times Radio Breakfast on 7 September 2023 in which Dr Jane Somerville, Emeritus professor of cardiology at Imperial College, was asked if the Lucy Letby case has uncovered a problem of the difficulties doctors have of voicing their concerns in hospitals. In the interview, Dr Somerville refers to systemic persecution of NHS staff who speak up about patient safety. She goes on to identify the key issues of power; cover-up culture; suppression of complaints/concerns; career-ending reprisals against staff who speak up; and the almost universal failure of employment tribunals to protect whistleblowers. 
  22. News Article
    A consultant obstetrician has claimed he was sacked from his hospital for raising whistleblowing concerns about patient safety over fears they would cause “reputational damage”. Martyn Pitman told an employment tribunal in Southampton that managers dismissed his concerns and he was “subjected to brutal retaliatory victimisation” after he criticised senior midwife colleagues. He said: “On a daily basis there was evidence of deteriorating standards of care. We were certain that the situation posed a direct threat to both patients’ safety and staff wellbeing. Concern was expressed that there was a genuine risk that we could start to see avoidable patient disasters.” Rather than addressing these, Pitman said the trust had considered it “the path of least resistance to take out [the] whistleblower”. Pitman was dismissed this year from his job at the Royal Hampshire County hospital (RHCH) in Winchester, where he had worked as a consultant for 20 years. He is claiming he suffered a detriment due to exercising rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. He said he “fought against [an] absolute barrage of completely unprofessional assaults on me” after he raised concerns about foetal monitoring problems that resulted in the death of a baby and the delivery of another with severe cerebral palsy. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 September 2023
  23. Content Article
    This year’s World Patient Safety Day on Sunday 17 September 2023 focused on engaging patients for patient safety, in recognition of the crucial role that patients, families and caregivers play in the safety of healthcare. This webinar provided an opportunity for those involved in patient safety to hear from patient safety leaders and discuss the opportunities and barriers to increased patient engagement. It was co-hosted by the Patient Safety Commissioner for England and the charity Patient Safety Learning.
  24. Content Article
    The Speak Up™ Campaign includes a large selection of resources produced by The Joint Commission (US-based) to encourage patients to speak up and be active participants in their healthcare. These resources are free and can be used by stakeholders that want to promote the Speak Up message. You will find resources about speaking up: about your care against discrimination at your telehealth visit for new parents for safe surgery for your mental health to prevent serious illness. The Joint Commission website also includes information about using Speak Up in your organisation.
  25. Content Article
    In this opinion piece for the BMJ, Partha Kar, NHS England National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes, shares his observations on why leaders fail to speak out on things that clearly aren't good for patient care. He identifies five key reasons: Keeping the job Fear Rhetoric about 'the bigger picture' The idea that 'I'll be rewarded' Genuine belief that the issue isn't real Partha highlights that speaking up about issues needs to become the norm if we are to see a culture shift in healthcare. Leaders need to be at the forefront of this, using their privilege to bring about change.
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