Blowing the whistle
Robbie Coull is brave enough to talk straight
- By: Robbie Coull
The ethical canvas of our society is changing, and patients, who in the past accepted paternalistic care, now demand fully informed consent. This shift in attitudes is producing tension within the NHS. A gap is opening up between those who think that the public needs to be protected from the truth about medical errors and poor management, and those who believe that openness and transparency are vital parts of a safe and fair modern healthcare system.
The most high profile examples of this shift are the Bristol baby heart scandal12 and the Alder Hey organ retention scandal.3 The effect of these scandals has been so profound that the General Medical Council (GMC) has strengthened its guidance on whistleblowing.45 Another key sign of the change in attitudes is the introduction by the UK government of legislation designed to protect whistleblowers.6
It is my belief that these examples are only the tip