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Kim Holt backs conference on protecting whistleblowers

A consultant who raised concerns about the clinic where ‘Baby P’ was treated has welcomed a BMA conference on protecting whistleblowers.

London consultant community paediatrician Kim Holt will speak about her experience at the event in October, which is being co-hosted with Patients First.

The conference aims to highlight areas of good practice in whistleblowing and tackle its negative connotations.

Dr Holt was seconded from the Haringey community paediatric service after raising her concerns about a child development centre where Baby P, later named as Peter Connelly, was seen.

She said: ‘My personal whistleblowing experience demonstrated that despite having tried at every level to follow due process when raising concerns, including to the CQC (Care Quality Commission), that it is very difficult to maintain one’s career if one’s employer has a vested interest in trying to hide information that you possess.

‘Patients First wants to highlight how important early resolution of concerns could be for the improvement of quality of care and patient safety. It could save lives as well as millions for the NHS.’

Professional responsibility

BMA council chair Mark Porter, who will also speak at the conference, said: ‘Doctors have a professional responsibility to raise concerns in the appropriate place.

‘This must be matched by the willingness of the system in which doctors work to put systems in place that encourage, support and protect people who raise concerns.

‘I'm really glad to see that this is becoming better appreciated - it is the only way to ensure that our patients get the safe care they deserve.’

The BMA is due to sign an NHS Employers statement outlining its commitment to supporting whistleblowers in the near future.

Protecting whistleblowers - Working Together to Create a Safe Culture for Patients and Doctors will take place on October 2 at BMA House.