Start your claim

February 11th 2015

Medical Negligence

New support for NHS whistleblowers is key to improving patient care

Simon Wilson

Simon Wilson

Head of Civil Liberties & Inquest Services

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

"Excellent service very professional"

Excellent service very professional. Jane did a great job. Loss of earnings rewarded and compensation for a broken hip due to accident at work. Kept us informed at all times made it easier for us to move on from what was suffered. It was very hard having to accept what…

andreaFebruary 27, 2020

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

"Brillant service"

Brillant service , from start to finish definitely recommend hudgells solicitors all the hard work is done for you wouldn’t hesitate to use them again or recommend them

LeannFebruary 21, 2020

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

"Hudgell Solicitors have given me…"

Hudgell Solicitors have given me outstanding service and support through a difficult time. They have assisted me in claiming compensation which they made the journey of getting it as easy as possible.

KatieFebruary 14, 2020

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

"Couldn't be easier"

Couldn't be easier. From the initial call the whole process was handled smoothly and effortlessly.

Kevin RobertFebruary 14, 2020

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

"Amazing !!"

I felt relaxed through the whole process, i was made to feel confident in winning my case which i would like to add i did 😁 .. the company kept me informed all the way through by emails aswell as telephone calls, i would highly recomend to everyone needing expert…

LesleyFebruary 11, 2020

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

"Really happy with the service I had…"

Really happy with the service I had from Hudgells & Alex was great!

Natalie PayneFebruary 10, 2020

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

"Claim resolved quickly and efficiently"

The lawyer was quick to respond and always kept me updated on progress. Everything was resolved efficiently. I would certainly recommend them to family and friends.

Lulu BFebruary 04, 2020

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

"There when ever I needed to ask a…"

There when ever I needed to ask a question, very informative, brilliant job definitely use them again if I needed too

KatieFebruary 03, 2020

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

"Thank you Sarah Kidd"

Sarah Kidd was fantastic she give me the best advice always keeping me up to date with everything that was going on

Christopher DixonJanuary 31, 2020

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

"It took over 3 years to resolve my case…"

It took over 3 years to resolve my case and Hudgell supported me throughout with great sensitivity and professionalism. My caseworker, Gemma, always kept me updated and was easily reached if l had questions to ask. Can wholeheartedly recommend Hudgell.

Robert WebsterJanuary 31, 2020

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

"Every time I phoned my call was…"

Every time I phoned my call was answered in a polite manner and I got answers to my questions.

KhalidJanuary 30, 2020

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

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

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

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

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

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

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

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

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

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

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

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

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

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

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

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020