This site is intended for health professionals only

BMA chair suggests patient safety watchdog to boost NHS transparency

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter has suggested there would be an independent patient safety commission, to address the need to boost transparency within the NHS highlighted by the Mid-Staffs scandal.

Dr Porter suggested that the need to support whistle-blowers may be the ‘one exception to the rule’ that there should be no more regulatory bodies or boards in the NHS.

Speaking at King’s Fund conference on the Francis Inquiry into the care at NHS Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, Dr Porter said giving a ‘duty of candour’ to NHS workers was not enough.

He said: ‘We have learned that legislation is not enough. The Public Interest Disclosure Act has been in force for 15 years now. We need to think about how we can set the culture of the service.

‘Many people fear putting that duty ahead of their personal wellbeing, mortgage, family… I am not sure I can see that criminalising the non-raising of concerns can help with that. We need to match the duty of speech with the duty to listen. That for me is the key message of all of this.’

‘Should we have a ‘Patient Safety Commission’? Perhaps it is so important that we need a separate body.’

The development comes after the GPC drew on the Francis report findings of systemic bullying in the NHS to call for the Government to stop bullying GPs over contract changes.