NHS Whistle Blowers

OK – I had a lot of WILY (What I Learnt Yesterday) moments at this conference yesterday.  It’s full title was The Speak Out Summit, and Roy Lilley (editor nhsManagers.net) led, drove, chaired and generally corralled the whole thing.  The aim was simple, and therefore complex to do – ” Can we create best practice guidelines for handling feedback and encouraging Speaking Out?”

We had a lot of thought provocation. Dr Phil Hammond – ( why not NIGE instead of NICE – National Institute for Good Enough), and others like Gary Walker, Dr. David Drew – actual celebrity whistle blowers; legal aspects from Prof Christopher Newdick, Sir Robert Naylor who runs UCLH (about £1 billion turnover – this is not a little organisation – it is real business.) Nearly all of the speakers stayed to be part of the audience too – a testament to wanting to make things change, I feel.

Look, I’m going to do my thoughts and impressions from the great and good in further blog spots, but there were two absolutely pivotal, game changing moments in the day for me.

James Titcombe lost his son Joshua at Morecambe Bay hospital – needlessly.  He had to fight against the QC might of the authority (who I believe spent millions of our money defending the indefensible).  He is now a CQC adviser (The Care and Quality Commission – which may or may not be powerful nor focused enough…but that’s another story…).  “Joshua would have been a little boy of 5 now”.  I don’t need to say anymore.  I’d never met James.  I’d heard the story.  This is the reality, and I can’t see to type.  His fighting spirit, and Joshua’s legacy means a lot of lives have been saved since.

Then, a delegate from Mid Staffs.  Roy Lilley described it as ‘ ‘The Safest Hospital in Britain’.  I know what he means – the safest time to fly, statistically, is the week after a plane crash…  The chief executive seems to have had an amazingly galvanizing effect.  “I am so proud to work there.  We see Maggie all the time.  We all offer the best possible care to our patients”.  It was lovely to hear – heartfelt and totally real.  You can’t fake passion.

It is all about people.  And it helps if the vision is led by truly follow-able leaders.

Roy Lilley with me ("The Tie")

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