The right honourable Jeremy Hunt M.P. said a few weeks ago that NHS Trusts must not sign ‘gagging orders’ with whistleblowers. That’s where someone who exposes wrong-doing at a hospital has to leave their job in return for a big fat cheque from the taxpayer but then has to give a binding promise that s/he won’t talk about the wrong-doing that hurt the patients.
In the Daily Telegraph 6/4/13 we see the real value of his words.
Last week, the commissioning of health services moved from Primary Care Trusts (all the staff now made redundant at a cost of £2 Billion of taxpayers money) to Clinical Commissioning Groups of local Doctors. This is what the paper exposed;
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE!
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
The extraordinary restrictions placed on staff at more than 200 GP practices have been drawn up by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which took responsibility for the NHS budget on Monday.
The decisions were taken even though Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, last month said any clauses which stopped staff from speaking about patient safety or care should be banned.
Documents seen by the Daily Telegraph show that CCGs covering swathes of the country have issued hundreds of doctors with restrictions which mean they can say nothing about the work of their CCG, without written permission from those in charge of it.
The clauses are significant because the organisations hold responsibility for most of the NHS budget, and will make crucial decisions affecting patient safety and care - such as which drugs and treatments to fund, and whether to close any local services.
NHS Newbury and District, NHS Sutton, NHS Dorset, NHS Thurrock and NHS Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCGs have all placed clauses in their constitutions that prevent all GPs working in local practices from saying anything about the work of the CCG without prior approval from the senior figures running it.
In each case, the constitution had to be signed by one GP from every practice in the area, representing all doctors in their surgery.
At least five more CCGs have banned dozens of medics who hold positions on the organisations’ governing bodies from issuing public comment.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, from the British Medical Association said the clauses were “unacceptable” and particularly shocking given that the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire scandal had just highlighted the need for doctors to speak openly about their concerns.
The CCGs said the restrictions, which were uncovered by GP magazine Pulse, were not intended to stop doctors from raising concerns.
A spokesman for NHS England said the bodies were independent, and had drawn up their own constitutions “as a means of achieving consensus between member practices on their organisational behaviours”.
A lawyer writes;
Actually, one Doctor can’t sign a contract and bind anyone else who hasn’t signed.
There is whistleblower legislation to protect people blowing whistles.
The Human Rights Act provides protection – it’s called the right to free speech.
I’ve Blogged before that 36% of the Doctors on the CCB’s actually have a financial interest in organisations supplying health goods or services – it is these people that the clauses are going to protect.
In any event;
NO GRASSES HERE !
On this Blog there are no Finks, Grasses, Stool pigeons or informers.
If you get in touch, your secrets are safe with me.
On the quiet.
What can you do?
If you are a Patient; I need case studies of problems with A and E to force the Care Quality Commission to start an investigation.
E-mail me direct.
If you are employed by the Trust;
It’s time to blow the whistle on A and E.
E-mail me direct – privacy guaranteed.
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