The Birmingham Preet Gill MP has called on the UK health secretary to launch a major public inquiry into allegations that a bullying and toxic culture is putting patient safety at risk at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB).
The MP for Edgbaston, where UHB is based, said she had received complaints from staff alleging that elderly patients had been left in beds in corridors outside wards due to mismanagement, and that doctors were being discouraged to talk about the problems.
in a letter to Steve BarclaySeen by The Guardian, Gill said: “I have been inundated with messages from UHB staff, past and present, who have contacted me to share their experience of what has been repeatedly described as a toxic culture that has had an alarming impact on the staff. and patient care.”
After a BBC Newsnight investigation Earlier this month, which found that the trust’s doctors were “punished” for raising safety concerns, the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board (ICB) announced a three-part review of the culture at UHB. The first report is expected by the end of January.
But Gill criticized the plans, saying he didn’t think it “would be enough to properly investigate this scandal” and instead called for a major independent public inquiry, similar to the one Francisco’s 2013 investigation into the Stafford hospital scandal.
“We cannot rely on an ICB investigation to resolve this issue. Many of those on the ICB are former members of the UHB senior leadership team and would not offer the independence required to recommend changes that are sorely needed or give whistleblowers confidence,” he said.
Gill revealed details of more than 30 messages he received from current and former UHB staff in recent weeks. “The story I hear over and over again is that staff who raised concerns about something they thought put patients at risk were often ignored and then disciplined for doing so,” she said.
One staff member said: “Patients are not receiving proper care. The staff is broken. The micromanagement, the verbal aggression of all”.
Another said: “Senior management brings unsafe plans and ideas to life and implements them regardless of what clinical staff think about it. We have had elderly patients crying and begging to go back to the ER because they have been left in a hallway for hours outside a ward.”
Gill said the death of Dr Vaishnavi Kumar, who worked at Queen Elizabeth hospital, “must be a turning point for trust”. An investigation last month found Kumar committed suicide after feeling “underappreciated” at work, and her father said she described it as a “hypercritical place”.
UHB manages several hospitals, serving 2.2 million people and employing 22,500 people, making it one of the largest National Health Service trusts in the UK.
A spokesman for NHS Birmingham and Solihull said: “The first of three reviews into concerns about culture at the University hospitals Birmingham will be run by an experienced independent physician from outside the area.
“We are grateful to Preet Gill for contributing to the terms of reference for the review and for their valuable support along with other local individuals and organizations who will work as part of a dedicated reference group that will steer the review and ensure its independence. and transparency.”
Birmingham University Hospitals said: “We appreciate the support that is being provided and look forward to working positively and constructively with our NHS colleagues.
“This will build on the work that is already being done at UHB to understand the issues that have been highlighted. It is very clear that there is a force of feeling in several areas and we are committed to addressing them.
“Our focus now is to continue to deliver high standards of care, while supporting all colleagues, as we head into a particularly challenging winter period.”
In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted by calling 116 123 or emailing [email protected] or [email protected]. For more information visit www.samaritanos.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for help. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In Australia, the Lifeline crisis support service is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.