DAUK in the Guardian: Doctors warn ‘culture of fear’ in NHS could prevent whistleblowing

Doctors have warned that a “culture of fear” in the NHS may prevent life-saving lessons being learned about Covid-19 after a leading hospital consultant emailed scores of staff saying those responsible for “leaks” would be found and fired.

Campaigners have warned that communications like this could have a chilling effect, damaging the speaking-up culture, harming patients and limiting chances to learn lessons.

“Communications like this instil fear and are toxic,” said Dr Jenny Vaughan, law and policy officer at Doctors Association UK, said. “When things go wrong we have to make sure lessons are learned, and we have to feel able to speak up. It is always important to support staff who have concerns about safety and not make them feel they are working in a culture of fear.”

“This once again evidences an ingrained culture within the NHS that deters people from speaking up at the earliest opportunity about potentially very serious life-threatening issues,” said WhistleblowersUK chief executive Georgina Halford-Hall.