Today The Doctors' Association UK submitted written evidence to the Draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill inquiry. The Bill will see the the current HSIB, under NHS Improvement, become an independent body.
In the submission DAUK welcomes "the creation of an independent body to investigate serious incidents in healthcare" and "the development of a culture that focuses on systemic learning from errors, rather than attributing individual blame".
However, DAUK expresses concern regarding the following areas:
- the power that the Bill grants to the Secretary of State for Health to appoint Chair of HSSIB, remove non-executive board members and veto the Chief Investigator.
- the process by which HSSIB will be able to accredit Trusts to carry our their own "safe space" investigations which DAUK describes as an "obvious, and enormous conflict of interest" in allowing Trusts to investigate themselves.
- prohibitions on protected disclosure; in the context of the case of Dr Bawa-Garba of and of Dr Chris Day, there must be confidence in the "safe space" to allow staff to speak freely.
- the fines of up to £20,000 for not submitting evidence to HSSIB on time. DAUK questions this and propose that fines be used to fund Human Factors training for healthcare professionals
- the Bill only applies to NHS-commissioned services. DAUK feels that the private sector should be subject to the same rigorous and independent investigative processes.