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11-12-2012 | General practice | Article

GMC launches whistleblower helpline


GMC – Decision making tool for raising safety concerns

medwireNews: The GMC has launched a new confidential helpline for doctors worried about patient safety.

The helpline (number: 0161 923 6399) will enable doctors to seek advice and raise any serious concerns about patient safety that they feel they are unable to through local channels, the Council said.

Its launch coincides with a new online decision aid on the GMC website, which takes doctors through the process of raising concerns, including how to decide when they should deal with situations themselves and when to involve a regulator or other external body.

The services complement new GMC guidance published earlier in the year, aimed at addressing concerns that doctors have not been properly supported when they have challenged authorities about safety issues.

BMA Council leader Dr Mark Porter recently criticised the NHS culture on safety and called for urgent reform, saying those with consciences should not be victimised but celebrated.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said: "Being a good doctor is more than simply being a good clinician. It requires a commitment to improve the quality of services and a willingness to speak up when things are not right - this is not always easy, but it is at the heart of medical professionalism.

"In the past, many doctors have felt uneasy raising concerns about policies and procedures or about their colleagues. We hope his new service will be useful in helping them navigate their way through the system. We also hope it will give doctors the confidence to act when they have concerns."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price, Senior medwireNews Reporter