Alongside Sir Robert Francis QC, Bill Kirkup, and Dr Leslie Hamilton who lead the GMC commissioned review into gross negligence manslaughter, our Chair was invited to speak about the blame culture in the NHS.
Dr Batt-Rawden was also to join a panel on patient safety, which Jeremy Hunt was also scheduled to appear at, but unfortunately the former secretary pulled out at the last minute.
In her speech to the Westminster Health Forum Sammy outlined the Bawa-Garba case, which saw a paediatric trainee scapegoated for widespread system failures. She went on to explain how this became a lightning rod for the medical profession, with doctors feeling ‘on any given day in the NHS that could have been me’.
Sammy went on to explain that the fall out from this case has been disastrous; that DAUK had heard from hundreds of doctors wanting to quit, or had quit the NHS saying it was “no longer worth it”, doctors leaving specialties deemed “too high risk”, specialties like Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care, General Practice, which are already short and desperately need them.
Sammy made the point that the blame culture is no doubt a cause for low morale in the NHS and likely contributing to a staffing crisis, which is being compounded by a punitive pensions tax.
Outlining the impact on patients, Sammy explained that the blame culture is changing the way doctors practise, and making the NHS a less safe space to speak up when things go wrong. Sammy also spoke about our Learn Not Blame campaign and what DAUK has been doing to address the blame culture in healthcare.
The session was an overwhelmingly positive event, with many speakers including Leslie Hamilton referencing Learn Not Blame and our work in this area.