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GPs could be investigated by new patient safety whistleblowing watchdog

A new patient safety watchdog has been given powers to investigate serious incidents or risks to patients in GP practices and NHS trusts under a draft bill laid before Parliament today.

The Health Service Safety Investigations Bill establishes statutory powers of the Health Service Safety Investigations Body, principally investigating ‘safe spaces’

This will mean information from NHS whistleblowers, patients, or their families shared with an accredited body or as part of an investigation will not routinely be made public.

In most cases a High Court order would be needed to make information given to the Health Service Safety Investigations Body public

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said this was a ‘landmark’ for safety in the NHS and said he hopes that this will encourage staff to raise concerns without fear of recrimination.

Modelled on the ‘no blame’ system in air safety investigations the HSSIB will be independent of the NHS and have powers to investigate NHS bodies and contracted providers.

The Department of Health confirmed to Pulse that GP practices would be within the scope of its investigations, but it was not focused on any one part of the health service.

After each investigation is completed, the HSSIB will publish detailed reports which will:

  • make recommendations for system-wide learning across the NHS;
  • help develop national standards on investigations;
  • provide advice, guidance and training to improve investigative practice across the health service.

Mr Hunt said: ‘When significant errors occur, it is vital that health organisations react quickly and decisively to share lessons and make improvements.

‘To achieve this we need to create an environment where patients, public and healthcare professionals all feel able to speak out about their concerns, without fear or favour.’

Readers' comments (7)

  • Doctor McDoctor Face

    Gosh. Yet another regulatory body. Just what the profession needed. Dear prospective Medical students the job just got a bit crapper, steer clear.

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  • Isn't it amazing how, given a problem within the NHS, the authorities take every possible action except the one actually necessary to deal with the situation?
    'Secretary of State to be made personally responsible at law for any failures within the NHS' might do a little more good, don't you think?

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  • Shiny new patient safety watchdog unwittingly does massive shit on itself.

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  • PS Jeremy
    As lateral think points out the thing that would make a real difference to patient safety would be a clear line of accountability all the way to the very top. And I think i am going to use the word shit again.

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  • My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken us?

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  • Lets see who can "investigate" us;

    GMC
    CQC
    CCG (where fully/partially delegated comissionning is in place)
    NHSE
    Courts
    Not to forget public trial by media - as many local so called newspaper likes to do.

    And worryingly, rules of double jeopardy doesn't apply, we can be sanctioned by all of the above for the same problem. No wonder no one wants to be GP?

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  • Another regulatory body! What a waste of taxpayers money. Jeremy is the biggest risk to patient's safety. See daily mail for why a prominent surgeon became an Uber driver yesterday.

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