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Protect view on BBC Panorama – Midwives under Pressure

Protect reaction to the BBC Panorama programme – Midwives under Pressure 

The BBC Panorama programme – Midwives under Pressure – broadcast Monday 29 January, reveals that a poor culture and a lack of staff contributed to the deaths of babies at an NHS trust.

The BBC investigation heard from NHS whistleblowers who said they weren’t listened to after raising concerns about 2 midwives working at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Elizabeth Gardiner, CEO at whistleblowing charity Protect, said:

“This is another damaging example of whistleblower concerns going unheard with devastating consequences.

An effective speak-up culture is essential for all organisations – providing the information they need to catch problems before they escalate. This is all the more important in health settings where patient safety is at stake. But even more pressing is making sure there is an active listening culture to pick up concerns and ensure whistleblowers are recognised.

Each time we read about an NHS scandal in the news it is revealed that staff knew that there was something wrong but were afraid to speak up or were ignored. 40% of NHS whistleblowers who contacted Protect last year said their concerns were ignored when they raised them. Every inquiry and review of services promises that lessons will be learned so the awful events cannot happen again.  Sadly, they can, and they do.

Tragedies of this kind are extremely rare, but listening to whistleblowers is the best early alarm system available – as long as the alarm doesn’t fall on deaf ears.”

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