Support needed for student whistleblowers

MEDICAL students who raise concerns about patient care should be supported by their placement providers, student leaders have said.

The report of the public inquiry into poor care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust recommended that organisations providing clinical placements should ask medical students for feedback on whether patient safety standards are being met.

The BMA’s medical students committee has responded by calling for protection for students who speak out.

MSC co-chair Will Seligman said: “There should be support systems in place to enable junior staff and medical students to speak up when they have concerns about patient safety. These must be balanced with a duty on employers to listen and protect them when they do so.”

In his report, inquiry chair Robert Francis QC also calls on the GMC to set out standard requirements for routine visits to local education providers. The Department of Health should ensure there are the resources to do this, Mr Francis says.

His report goes on to say that not enough attention has been paid to the risks to patient safety created by placing students and trainees with placement providers that do not comply with minimum quality standards.

The BMA has responded to the report by vowing to help build an NHS culture of quality, openness and transparency. It is asking for the views of students and doctors.

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