Thousands of warnings from NHS staff members are being ignored by the NHS inspectors, claims a whistle-blowers alliance.
The alliance is made up of doctors, inspectors, and patients, who have exposed some of the biggest health scandals of the past twenty years.
They warn that those who do speak out are “fired, gaged and blacklisted”, whilst the regulators stand on the sidelines offering little help.
In a letter, The Times the group claims that tens of thousands of NHS staff have contacted the Care Quality Commission (CQC) about unsafe care, and inspectors are slow to respond or fail to act at all.
The CQC is responsible for inspecting hospitals, GPs, and care homes. In the past five years, it is reported to have received at least 33,000 calls to its whistle-blower hotline, where staff can raise concerns regarding safety and care.
The signatories of the letter say that the CQC have not sued the data to spot patterns, such as short staffing or poor guidelines, and that many people feel “deeply frustrated” that their disclosures have not resulted in changed to improve safety.
Kim Holt, a signatory on the letter and the paediatrician who exposed staff shortages at the clinic that missed the abuse of Baby P, told The Times: “It’s very frustrating because I feel like the CQC have got all the information. They know what’s happening,”
Data from the CQC suggests that over 60% of the 12,609 calls received in 2013 and 2014 led to no action at all. However, in the past six months, the CQC said that one in ten whistleblowing calls triggered an investigation.
Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “The CQC takes concerns raised by staff extremely seriously and we act where appropriate, whether carrying out or bringing forward an inspection, raising concerns with the provider, or alerting another organisation, including the police.”
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