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Saturday 24th August 2019

Doctors' phone line leads to GMC inquiries

22nd February 2013

A new whistleblowing helpline in the UK has already sparked a number of significant investigations.


The helpline was set up by the regulator of doctors two months ago and has already had 187 calls, leading to 12 serious investigations by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The more serious calls involved complaints that there was a risk to patient safety or a doctor was not fit to practise.

There have been four less serious inquiries while the GMC is considering seven other cases from the helpline.

Most of the calls came from other doctors, though members of the public rang in as well, and figures show that a high number were from the north-west of England, the West Midlands and London.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: “We haven’t engaged in a massive publicity campaign around this line, so the response shows there is a need for this service.

“Some of the doctors were phoning up with serious concerns, which has resulted in ongoing investigations. We’re very pleased that concerns are reaching us – it’s one way of pursuing areas where patients may be at risk.”

There are also a number of other lines that patients or health professionals can call to report poor care.

Former health secretary Andrew Lansley launched a free whistleblowing helpline in January 2012, while the Patients Association receives more than 8,000 calls on its helpline every year. People can ring the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) launched a phone line to support whistleblowing nurses in 2009.


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