Harm Alarm – Drug Errors

Drug errors are the commonest form of medical harm. So why don’t more pharmacists blow the whistle? The letter below is spot on:


Private Eye rightly draws attention to the problems faced by whistle-blowers employed by the NHS. However, especially with the threat of an increase in their numbers, there should also been concern for those employed by contractors to the NHS, such as GP staff and employee pharmacists. Locum pharmacists, who comprise over 30% of pharmacists working in “retail pharmacies”, in particular are concerned that complaining to top management about unsafe working conditions and practices merely leads to blacklisting, and since, in many large areas there are only one or two employers ….. there are many quite large areas with only Boots and Lloyds, or one of those plus a supermarket for example ….. raising concern over quite minor matters can lead to significantly reduced employment opportunities.

M. E. James

Retired pharmacist


Good piece in Indy on plight of NHS whistleblower & need to offer better protection. Still not clear whether Health Select Committee is going to act, or just pretend to offer support and then do nothing. Radio 4′s The Report is worth listening to – the Whistleblowers were very good but Minister Anne Milton was very disappointing, particularly for a former nurse. If the HSC don’t take it on, there may need to be class action. And an excellent suggestion from Dr John Coakley. ‘My late father (psychiatrist) wanted a network of retired doctors to be proxy whistleblowers. Why not?’


Well done the NHS Reform Group. According to their Press Release (below), there is now going to be a Health Select Committee Inquiry into Whistleblowing following several years of lobbying. We hope it will be a stand alone inquiry and not tacked onto a review of the previous report into Patient Safety. NHS Whistleblowing needs to be thoroughly analysed and debated, with enforceable recommendations and not just reduced to a forgotten amendment in a toothless NHS Constitution. Go on Stephen Dorrell. Do the right thing, and turn over that great, big whistleblowing stone….

Press Release

NHS Reform Group Succeeds in Obtaining Health Select Committee Inquiry
into Whistleblowing.

NHS Reform Group wishes to congratulate Stephen Dorrell for agreeing
to our request [ suggestion initially made by our colleague and friend
Dr Rita Pal] for an Health Select Committee Inquiry into

This suggestion was initially taken up in 2009 by Andrew Mitchell MP
who should be congratulated for his perseverance in upholding the
rights of whistleblowers. NHS Reform Group subsequently campaigned for
an Health Select Committee Inquiry into Whistleblowing for the last
few years. We also listed the suggestion to Andrew Lansley’s PA. Dr
Pal’s idea was first reported in Private Eye “More Staffing Problems
Private Eye No 1234 17th – 30th April 2009 “Dr Pal has lobbied (via
her MB Andrew Mitchell) for the Commons health select committee to
investigate the problems faced by whistleblowers in the NHS” . We
joined Dr Pal in this campaign in 2009. Together, we worked hard in
raising the awareness of an Health Select Committee Inquiry into

NHS Reform Group has worked hard to strive to uphold the rights of
patients and junior doctors. We believe that our suggestion of an
Inquiry into Whistleblowing is a stepping stone to developing
solutions for many junior whistleblowers who suffer at the hands of
the NHS.

We hope that the Coalition Government will engage with us for further
suggestions with a view to improving future policy and improving the
safety of patients.

Related Links

1. Independent article confirming an inquiry
2. The North Staffordshire Whistleblower – http://www.nhsexposed.com

Contact – Mr. M. Cubells 07833 686 555

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