Case study

  • Date:
  • Category:
    Moving from business as usual into the Standards
    Staff feeling vulnerable


A junior doctor notices that a consultant does not wash their hands between patients.  They try to raise this with the consultant directly but the consultant brushes off the remark.  The junior doctor emails the lead clinician about this situation, asking how best to resolve it.

The lead clinician writes to the doctor thanking them for raising this issue, and invites them to a short meeting to discuss it further.

At the meeting the lead clinician suggests handling the concern through the whistleblowing procedure as this would provide the doctor with more support and protection.  The doctor agrees to this approach but is worried that any action taken as a result will identify them as the whistleblower due to their previous comments to the consultant.  The concern is recorded at stage 1 of the whistleblowing procedure and the lead clinician suggests that the issue is raised generally at the next clinical safety meeting, with a focus on reminding all staff of their responsibilities.

The doctor is happy with this approach, but requests that their concerns are kept confidential, and that records are not accessible to other clinicians.  The clinician agrees to ensure this is done, and thanks the doctor for raising this concern.

The lead clinician raises hand-washing as a general reminder to all staff at the clinical safety meeting, and highlights some recent statistics about incidents of infection rates.  They write to the doctor to confirm that this has been done, and to refer them to stage 2 of the whistleblowing procedure if they do not think that this concern has been resolved.

Updated: January 8, 2020