CQC is in the process of developing its new approach to inspection and has hired paediatrician Dr Kim Holt to assist.
Dr Holt started her temporary role as a professional advisor by leading a workshop with people who have whistleblowing experience. They discussed the issues they have faced and the barriers that can prevent staff from raising concerns.
The feedback will help CQC to develop its new approach to regulating health and adult social care services, which will include assessing how providers listen to and treat whistleblowers. It will also give a better understanding of the experiences of staff who raise concerns, as well as the issues whistleblowers face.
Dr Holt formed the campaign group Patients First following her own whistleblowing experiences and said, “I hope my own journey as a whistleblower and my experience of speaking with many others who have raised concerns will help CQC develop new ways of responding.” James Titcombe, CQC’s National Advisor on Patient Safety, Culture and Quality said,“Dr Holt’s experience and knowledge will be invaluable in helping us ensure we get our approach right. Too often healthcare staff feel unable to safely raise concerns and those who do are treated in an appalling way. This can lead to a culture that sees people frightened to talk about patient safety issues and therefore, problems remain hidden. It is vital that this culture changes and CQC has an important role to play.”
CQC has a team that manages calls and correspondence from whistleblowers. In 2012/13, the team received 8,600 contacts, 600 of these were from the NHS and since April 2013, the team has received over 7,800 (around 730 were from the NHS).