The government has ordered an urgent inquiry into the local hospital of the health secretary, Matt Hancock, after the Guardian revealed its unprecedented “witch-hunt” for a whistleblower.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has told NHS England to commission a “rapid review” of the actions of bosses at West Suffolk hospital. They are under fire for demanding that staff give fingerprints and samples of their handwriting to help identify who wrote to a family alerting them to failings in care that contributed to a patient’s death.
The review could raise difficult questions about what Hancock – a professed champion of NHS whistleblowers – knew about the trust’s tactics and what he did about it.
The Doctors’ Association UK, which has voiced alarm about the “toxic culture” at the trust, welcomed news of the review.
“We support all initiatives to improve patient safety and therefore welcome this rapid review commissioned by the government, which we hope will shine a light on concerns raised about decisions taken by senior managers,” said Dr Rinesh Parmar, the association’s chair.
“We hope that going forwards the dedicated staff at the trust are given all the support they need to reinstate an environment and culture of openness. Not only will this improve staff morale, it will create a palpable change that commands the confidence of the patients of West Suffolk.”
The review follows a series of Guardian revelations that have highlighted serious patient safety concerns and the “bullying” of doctors who hospital bosses believed raised the alarm.
Excerpt from The Guardian by Denis Campbell and Matthew Weaver, read the full article here.