Regulators Report on Whistleblowing

18 Sep 2019

On Wednesday 11 September, eight of the healthcare regulators published an annual report on whistleblowing disclosures, under the legal duty that was enforced on 1 April 2017. The report detailed the number of whistleblowing disclosures made between 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019 to each of the regulators and summarised what action had been taken following these disclosures.

The results are summarised in the table below:

 

Action taken in response to disclosures

 

 

 

Regulator

 

 

Under review

 

 

Closed with no action taken

 

 

Onward referral to alternative body

 

 

Regulatory action taken

 

 

No action – not enough information

Onward referral to alternative body and regulatory action taken

General Chiropractic Council

0

0

0

0

0

0

General Dental Council (GDC)

0

6

1

56

10

2

General Medical Council (GMC)

0

1

0

26

4

4

General Optical Council

5

0

0

10

4

0

General Osteopathic Council

0

0

0

2

0

0

General Pharmaceutical Council

7

3

1

5

0

0

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

0

0

8

1

0

0

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

0

0

0

18

0

16

Some of the more interesting points to arise from this report are as follows:

  • The GDC received the highest number of whistleblowing disclosures which they attributed to the fact that dentistry generally has less robust governance frameworks than those found in other settings such as Hospitals.
  • The GMC received 35 whistle blowing disclosure and although 26 where considered for regulatory action 13 were closed after the initial assessment.
  • Investigating concerns where the discloser is anonymous or withdraws continues to be problematic.
  • Of the 9 disclosures received by the HCPC, 8 were referred onwards to an alternative body e.g. Care Quality Commission (CQC).
  • Of the 34 disclosures received by the NMC, 16 were referred onwards to an alternative body e.g. CQC/GMC.

In summary, in comparison to the number of referrals received by regulatory bodies each year, whistleblowing disclosures count for a relatively small percentage many of which were made anonymously which may indicate that there is still a degree of reluctance for those who may have concerns to raise them with the appropriate regulatory body and also that concerns are being dealt with at a local level. All of the healthcare regulators continue to take steps to ensure that potential disclosers are provided with enough information and support to make an appropriate disclosure when they have concerns. 

If you would like any advice from BLM's healthcare team, please click here to speak to a member of the team.

Written by partner Lisa Jones and legal executive Aliyah Hussain.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones

Partner,
Manchester


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