Professional responsibility of healthcare practitioners
The Commons health select committee held a one-off oral evidence session towards the end of 2011 on professional responsibility of healthcare practitioners to discuss the issues faced by health professionals when speaking out about poor practice or patient care. The MPs were trying to ascertain how doctors and other healthcare workers exercise their professional duties when they have concerns about the environments in which they work.
BMA consultants committee chair Mark Porter, appeared as a witness for the inquiry alongside Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter and representatives from the Care Quality Commission.
The BMA and the RCN agreed there was a role for so-called 'compromise agreements', often made when terminating employment contracts, the terms of which are usually kept confidential. However, Dr Porter and Peter Carter said they feared that compromise agreements had become conflated with attempts to prevent whistleblowing, which would be unlawful.
In response to the committee’s report published in February 2012, the BMA said it was pleased that the committee continues to raise awareness about the difficulties health professionals face when they want to speak out about poor quality care at their place of work.