NHS whistleblowers face being “fired, gagged and blacklisted” while disclosures go uninvestigated owing to the healthcare regulator’s lack of powers and resources, a group of doctors, staff and patients has warned.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was criticised for being “low value” by the group, which has called for radical change in how the health service is regulated.
In a letter to the Times, the group, which has exposed huge failings, said the CQC had failed to detect poor care and governance since it replaced the Healthcare Commission in 2009. It cited an example where an inspection of a foundation trust cost £273,900 but failed to spot hundreds of uninvestigated deaths.
“The CQC protests that it has no powers to investigate individual cases,” the group said. “Many patients, bereaved relatives and whistleblowers are deeply frustrated that disclosures to the CQC have not resulted in change. On the contrary, if NHS staff whistleblow, they may still be fired, gagged and blacklisted.”
Sir Robert Francis QC said the watchdog had to do more to protect whistleblowers, in his report into failings at Mid Staffs.
Read more in The Guardian.