BMA hosts whistleblowing conference
Posted on 27 September 2012 by Ali Rivett
Speaking up for patient safety is never going to be easy. Doctors who whistleblow risk hostility from colleagues and the attention of the media.
But those who stand up to meet this vital professional responsibility should not have their lives made even more difficult by the people who should be supporting them.
There have been high-profile cases of doctors being ignored, silenced or even punished by their employers after raising safety issues.
A conference at BMA House in London on October 2 will aim to highlight areas of good practice in raising concerns and tackling negative connotations of whistleblowing. It is hosted jointly by the BMA and Patients First, an organisation that campaigns for the government to make the NHS more open and accountable, and to support those who raise concerns.
Among those speaking will be London consultant paediatrician and Patients First co-founder Kim Holt, who was seconded from her team after raising concerns about the child development centre where abuse victim Peter Connelly — Baby P — was seen. She will be talking about the lessons of her experience.
But the conference is not so much about individual accounts of whistleblowing; it focuses more on looking at how doctors who see bad practice can raise concerns, where to go for help, and staying within the law.
There will be sessions on what can be learned from places that have good patient safety records, the responsibilities of the GMC, the Department of Health and the CQC (Care Quality Commission), and whether legislation needs to change to offer greater protection.
BMA council chair Mark Porter, GMC assistant director of standards Jane O’Brien, and CQC national professional adviser and former BMA president David Haslam are all involved in the conference.
Also present will be BMA regional services staff, who work hard to protect members who speak out for the common good. The conference will be an opportunity to improve our service to members still further, and to learn from the experience of others.
Read whistleblowing guidance from the GMC, the CQC and the Department of Health.