Annual report on whistleblowing from healthcare regulators published

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today published its annual report on whistleblowing disclosures, alongside seven other healthcare regulators.

The Whistleblowing disclosures report 2022  shows that 62 concerns were raised by whistleblowers to the GMC, in the 12 months between April 2021 and March this year, an increase on the previous year when 43 concerns were raised.

Of those, 34 were made by doctors, 14 by other healthcare professionals and 14 were anonymous. The majority of complaints, 59, were assessed by the GMC’s fitness to practise team. Of those:

  • 48 were closed after an initial assessment
  • 11 resulted in either a preliminary or full investigation – 10 of these are still going through the investigation process and one has been closed.

Of those closed after an initial assessment or a preliminary or full investigation, reasons for closure included:

  • the disclosure was being or had already been handled locally
  • advice was given to the discloser
  • the disclosure was outside the GMC’s remit, for example a local employment dispute 
  • no concerns were found from the information provided.

Three disclosures were handled by the GMC’s registration and revalidation team:

  • One case resulted in regulatory action, and referral to an alternative body 
  • One was forwarded for consideration by the GMC’s fitness to practise team, and regulatory action was taken
  • One was closed as there was insufficient information to progress.

"We take issues raised seriously and want to contribute to an open culture that supports people to speak up."

Anna Rowland

GMC Assistant Director for Policy and Business Transformation

Anna Rowland, the GMC’s Assistant Director for Policy and Business Transformation, said:

‘We take issues raised seriously and want to contribute to an open culture that supports people to speak up. This report provides valuable data on patterns and trends in the concerns that are raised with us.

‘This year, we’ve seen a rise in the number of concerns raised, alongside a drop in those made anonymously. This may indicate that people feel more able to speak up. However, as with any changes in the data, we’ll continue to monitor this closely and investigate if this becomes a trend.

‘We’re continuing to encourage people to feel confident in speaking up, and for those concerned about patient safety, we have a confidential helpline. We also offer training and guidance for doctors on raising and acting on concerns.’

The GMC’s confidential helpline for raising concerns – 0161 923 6399 – is available between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Information on raising concerns is also available on the GMC’s Speaking up ethical hub.

The Whistleblowing disclosures report 2022 is published jointly by the GMC with the General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.