Patients First

Patients First

Sponsors: Phil Hammond, Professor Sir Brian Jarman Professor Peter Beresford, Professor Stephen Bolsin.

Dear friend

The NHS is at a crossroads. The report by Robert Francis on the terrible scandal of Mid Staffordshire came in the midst of other serious challenges for the NHS. One of the key lessons from the inquiry was that complaints were not listened to and concerns from staff were not acted upon.  Nursing staff who raised concerns were threatened and a number of medical staff who had raised concerns were ignored. There was not a listening culture . The Board were more focussed on financial and other targets. We hear of similar problems with the health service culture in Scotland and Northern Ireland and the general issues that frontline staff face appear to be the same throughout the UK, to a greater or lesser degree.

Patients First began as a network of NHS whistleblowers but we are now looking to gain broader support. Most of us will need access to safe healthcare for ourselves or our families. Our aim is to reduce death and harm in the NHS by campaigning for the UK Governments to create policies and laws that ensure the NHS becomes open and accountable. So far we have met with the Health minister in Northern Ireland to discuss these issues and the Cabinet Secretary for Health in Scotland a number of times. Our campaign to end the use of gagging clauses seems to be having an impact, but we urge caution as the policy needs to be enforced. We are also pressing the regulators on matters related to transparency, and fairness for frontline staff, and we are seeking a full inquiry by the Health Select Committee. Recently we have submitted a carefully considered case to the commission into whistleblowing led by Public Concern at Work.

PF volunteers in our network try to support frontline staff and we signpost to other sources of help and advice, but our main aim is the campaign. We support a review of PIDA ( Public Interest Disclosure Act), and other means of  protection for whistleblowers, and seek to create a health service where the principles of openness, transparency and candour mean all staff at every level, alongside patients, are able to raise concerns without fear of detriment.

Recently our founder was listed as one of HSJ 100 clinical leaders in their inaugural list along with Professor Brian Jarmann, Professor Stephen Bolsin, Dr Phil Hammond, and Dr Peter Wilmshurst, all active supporters of our campaign, This gives us heart that our mission is right and supported by a broad medical base. We also have a number of MPs now actively campaigning on our behalf, asking parliamentary questions and seeking justice for those who have lost their jobs through whistleblowing.

We attach a membership form to enable you to actively support our work, including by making a small contribution to our campaign.

We have no corporate or Government income, and our work is all done on a voluntary basis.

We look forward to hearing from you

Dr Kim Holt, Roger Kline and David Johnstone, Jennie Feccitt, Elsie Gayle.

Patients First.

Download the Patients First Membership Form

Patients First Scotland support the UK campaign.

Help and support for NHS Whistleblowers.

PF can guarantee on joining one telephone call for general advice with a suitable professional from our network. Over and above that will depend upon the availability and appropriateness for the individual. For some cases we do offer more individualized support on a case by case basis and we would ask for a donation in recognition of our time. We can be contacted for advice via the website.

We are not looking at replacing the function of unions, or lawyers or professional counsellors, or  psychologists. What we are able to do is provide some general support and advice given what we have learned from our case studies. We ask any individuals that we help to allow us to anonymously use their case study to inform our campaign.

We believe that only by coming together can we impact upon the culture, and bring about change.