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Second NHS whistleblower tsar departs as Office of National Guardian sinks further into ‘crisis’

David Bell’s shock move back to his old NHS job follows the resignation of his boss, Dame Eileen Sills, before she even started work

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s vow to protect medics who expose patient safety fears has hit a fresh setback. The UK’s new deputy NHS whistleblowing tsar has left after less than six weeks in the role.

David Bell’s abrupt move back to his old NHS job follows the resignation of his boss, Dame Eileen Sills. Campaigners say the latest exit is a sign that the new Office of the National Guardian – due to open last Friday – is in a “crisis” that means patients “will suffer”. It was to be a centre-piece of Mr Hunt’s pledge to protect whistleblowers following the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Dr Minh Alexander, who was forced to quit after she exposed suicides and abuse at a mental health trust in Cambridgeshire, said of Mr Bell’s departure: “This shows the Office of the National Guardian is in crisis. “I am not surprised – the design of the office has been flawed. What is needed is a truly independent body. “It is patients who will suffer if the Government continues to insist upon flawed half measures.”

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Deputy National Guardian David Bell has exited his position

Filed under: Whistleblowing,

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