Health workers should face an investigation if they do not inform the necessary authorities of any concerns they have about their fellow members of staff not carrying out their work properly, a group of MPs have said.
The cross-party health select committee said the health watchdog should have the power to investigate doctors, nurses and midwives who fail to draw attention to poor healthcare being provided by their colleagues.
However, the MPs said that the current NHS whistleblowing system needs to be revised because staff can be deterred from reporting concerns as they may be subject to disciplinary action themselves.
The General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulator, said it was committed to reforming this area so there is less stigma attached to raising concerns over the standard of healthcare.
Stephen Dorrell, the committee’s chairman, said: “This is an underdeveloped part of the regulators’ work. We regard the principle behind this wider obligation as an important safeguard for patients. We’re not suggesting a new doctrine for staff. It’s part of the professional obligation - being aware of the practices around them is in the professional codes.”