Doctors are scared they will be victimised if they speak up about issues affecting patient safety, chair of BMA Scotland warns.

The Herald reported that Dr Lewis Morrison, chair of BMA Scotland, said he did not feel the trade union could encourage its members to whistleblow because the response is “not necessarily a good one for the individual”.

It is reported that he said:

“A fully functional and supportive system doesn’t need whistleblowing. It celebrates people raising concerns, because that’s how you improve quality. We’re clearly not there yet.

“People are scared of making mistakes in an under-resourced system, they’re scared of what the response to those mistakes is going to be, they are scared that if they raise their concerns about the system they are going to be victimised as a result.

“That is a very powerful, and obviously sad and depressing, message to get from a significant proportion of the people we represent.”

A BMA Scotland’s survey found that 38% of its members believed bullying was a problem in their workplace.

There is a duty on all doctors to “to raise concerns where they believe that patient safety or care is being compromised by the practice of colleagues or the systems, policies and procedures in the organisations in which they work.”

Anthony Omo, director of fitness to practise at the GMC, said:

“It is critical that referral to the GMC by employers is not used as a retaliatory measure to intimidate or punish staff who speak up about patient safety risks. Doctors must be able to raise concerns without fear of reprisal.”

Follow Us