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Government selects GP for new ‘patient safety commissioner’ role

GP whistleblowing guardian ‘preferred candidate’ for patient safety commissioner

The GP who headed up the NHS’s national whistleblowing guardian service is the ‘preferred candidate’ for the new role of patient safety commissioner, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

Dr Henrietta Hughes, who is a practising GP and who was the national guardian for the NHS until 2021, was selected following an open public appointment process to appoint the first patient safety commissioner, according to DHSC appointments guidance updated today.

Health secretary Sajid Javid today invited the health and social care committee to hold a ‘pre-appointment scrutiny hearing’ on 5 July with Dr Hughes, the DHSC said.

The select committee will set out its views on her ‘suitability for the role’ following the hearing and the health secretary will then consider the committee’s report before making a final decision, it added.

Mr Javid said: Patient safety is a top priority and I am delighted to announce Dr Henrietta Hughes as my preferred candidate for the first patient safety commissioner, bringing with her a wealth of experience.

‘We committed to introducing this vital new role as part of the Cumberlege Review to champion the voices of patients and improve the safety of medicines and medical devices.’

Dr Hughes has a background in women’s health and is an appraiser for NHS England and chair of Childhood First in addition to her clinical work.

In 2020, she was recognised in the New Year’s honours list and received an OBE.