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Independents' Day

13. Dr Henrietta Hughes

Chief whistleblower

13 dr hughes, henrietta power50 2017 13

13 dr hughes, henrietta power50 2017 13

This London GP is spearheading a national drive to ‘foster an open culture’ that enables staff to speak up about patient safety.

The first National Guardian for the NHS, Dr Hughes has been tasked with creating a network of ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardians’ across the NHS, including one in every practice by this month.

She says ‘the network has gone from strength to strength’ with ‘nearly 3,000 staff’ raising concerns in the first six months after she took office in October 2016. This year, she has been touring the country to see the work being done ‘to support workers who want to speak up’.

She also caught media attention this year, after saying NHS staff needed to behave more as though they were in the film Love Actually. ‘Wouldn’t it be better if oxytocin was the predominant neurotransmitter in the NHS?’, she asked. Perhaps not the most elegant of statements, but it is refreshing to have a prominent figure talking about staff morale in the health service and what its impact could be on patient care.

Her team is now beginning a case review process ‘where we review how organisations have responded when workers raise concerns’ and sharing this across the country.

Why influential

GP aiming to love-bomb the NHS and force it to listen to whistleblowers

What she says

‘Thank you to all who responded to improve NHS culture’

Random fact

Was wounds officer at Kingston Public Hospital in Jamaica

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