Claim Now

February 11th 2015

Medical Negligence

New support for NHS whistleblowers is key to improving patient care

Simon Wilson

Simon Wilson

Senior Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

New support for NHS whistleblowers is key to improving patient care

By Simon Wilson, medical negligence expert and senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors

Fotolia_54048895_XS-150x150By Simon Wilson, medical negligence expert and senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors

Today’s report by Sir Robert Francis QC into the treatment of whistleblowers within the NHS will hopefully have a positive impact not only on the management of health service staff across the UK – but also on the overall standard of patient care.

Sir Robert’s conclusions on the NHS today are quite clear.

As part of his independent review, many staff have revealed how they don’t speak up and challenge the poor patient care they see because they feel their concerns would not be listened to. Others simply fear victimisation as a result of challenging their bosses.

“What I heard during the course of the review from staff, employers, regulators and unions and others leaves me in no doubt that there’s a serious problem in the National Health Service,” Sir Robert told reporters at a press briefing in London today.

“Taking into account all the evidence obtained by the review, I have come to the conclusion there must be a change of culture.”

A change of culture in the NHS is something we at Neil Hudgell Solicitors have long called for.

As we handle many claims relating to clinical negligence at NHS doctors and hospitals across the country each year, we have long seen a culture of denial and obstruction when legal investigations begin into how things have gone badly wrong for patients.

Complaints procedures are far too complicated, obvious mistakes are often denied without being fully investigated, and as a result, opportunities to learn valuable lessons, and ultimately improve the quality of patient care, are lost.

Sir Robert has urged “action at every level of the NHS” to make staff raising alarms over poor patient care the norm.

He today revealed plans ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardians’ being put in place in every NHS Trust – a named person to give independent support to whistleblowers and hold boards to account if they fail to focus on the patient safety issue.

Other proposals include creating a National Independent Officer, who will support those Guardians and intervene when cases go wrong.

A support scheme is also being proposed to help good NHS staff who are now without work after raising their concerns to get another job.

Importantly, this has been a thoroughly comprehensive review of the current working practices within the NHS. Some 600 staff spoke to the review team, with another 19,000 responding to an online survey. The NHS cannot dispute it or deny the findings.

Sir Robert says staff who raise concerns can often find themselves in a “toxic mix of grievance and disciplinary action” impacting on every aspect of their lives.

“Too often, honestly-expressed anxieties have met with hostility and breakdown of working relationships,” he said.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered this review last June, after Sir Robert led two inquiries into failures at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which the QC said had shown the “appalling consequences for patients when there is a ‘closed ranks’ culture”.

In his letter to Mr Hunt after concluding the latest report, Sir Robert wrote that some cases he came across had been “truly shocking”.
It is to be hoped that today marks the start of a new era of openness across the NHS where such cases are not commonplace, but extremely rare.

The covering-up of poor patient care and negligence needs to stop, with improving patient care, and the quality of the NHS, the only goal at all times.

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Becci was amazing"

Becci was amazing, she was so friendly and helpful and couldn’t have done a better job at helping me with my claim. Very happy.

Katherine JanineNovember 08, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Quick honest service"

Quick honest service, smooth process with excellent staff

MR COOPEROctober 30, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"HUDGELL SOLICITORS are great lawyers…"

HUDGELL SOLICITORS are great lawyers whit amazing customers service. I got pretty good deal only because of them I'm quite happy I chose Hudgell solicitor.

DominikOctober 30, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Good all round service"

Good all round service

John AndrewOctober 19, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Efficient"

Quick, efficient service provided by Jayne Woodock. Would definitely contact Hudgell Solicitors again in the future if the need arises

KerryOctober 10, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Thank you"

I have never had to go down the route of claiming for anything like this so when I was advised to do so I did some research and Hugell Solicitors caught my eye. And I’m so glad I picked them, everything was explained well and helped with any questions I…

ZoeOctober 04, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"No problems from start to finish for my…"

No problems from start to finish for my claim.Kept updated regularly and a good outcome even though the defendants were being evasive. Thanks.

r3monkeyOctober 03, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent"

Very professional,efficient service,informative and friendly service. I would highly recommend Hudgell solicitors.

HelenOctober 01, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Good experience"

Good experience

Margaret ElizabethAugust 31, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent"

Friendly, helpful and professional.

M J JAugust 09, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"I would recommend this firm of…solicitor to anyone"

I would recommend this firm of solicitor to anyone I have had a 5 star treatment from Jayne woodcock I cant praise her enough she kept me informed every step of my claim and I cannot thank her enough excellent Jimmy Mcdermott

Jimmy McJuly 28, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and thorough"

Very helpful and thorough. The team kept me updated throughout. Thank you

EsmeJuly 25, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Couldn’t fault Hudgell Solicitors."

Couldn’t fault Hudgell Solicitors. They were professional, pleasant informative and helpful and got a result which was better than I had ever expected. When Becci left the practice and Alex took over my claim it was a seamless change over, indicating a personel strength in depth. Thank you.

Vic.July 24, 2019