The GMC has published its annual report on whistleblowing disclosures.

The report shows that 62 concerns were raised by whistleblowers, to the GMC, in the 12 months between April 2021 and March this year, an increase on the previous year when 43 concerns were raised.

Of those, 34 were made by doctors, 14 by other healthcare professionals and 14 were anonymous. The majority of complaints, 59, were assessed by the GMC’s fitness to practise team. Of those:

  • 48 were closed after an initial assessment
  • 11 resulted in either a preliminary or full investigation – 10 of these are still going through the investigation process and one has been closed.
  • Of those closed after an initial assessment or a preliminary or full investigation, reasons for closure included:
  • the disclosure was being or had already been handled locally
  • advice was given to the discloser
  • the disclosure was outside the GMC’s remit, for example a local employment dispute
  • no concerns were found from the information provided.

Three disclosures were handled by the GMC’s registration and revalidation team:

  • One case resulted in regulatory action, and referral to an alternative body
  • One was forwarded for consideration by the GMC’s fitness to practise team, and regulatory action was taken
  • One was closed as there was insufficient information to progress.

Anna Rowland, the GMC’s Assistant Director for Policy and Business Transformation, said:

‘We take issues raised seriously and want to contribute to an open culture that supports people to speak up. This report provides valuable data on patterns and trends in the concerns that are raised with us.

‘This year, we’ve seen a rise in the number of concerns raised, alongside a drop in those made anonymously. This may indicate that people feel more able to speak up. However, as with any changes in the data, we’ll continue to monitor this closely and investigate if this becomes a trend.

‘We’re continuing to encourage people to feel confident in speaking up, and for those concerned about patient safety, we have a confidential helpline. We also offer training and guidance for doctors on raising and acting on concerns.’

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