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Observations BMJ Confidential

Kim Holt: Pet hate is bullying

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 26 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7093

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Kim Holt drank deep of the bitterest draught the NHS can offer. She was kept on “special leave” by the Great Ormond Street Hospital trust after she warned, along with three colleagues, that its paediatric services in Haringey posed a serious risk to patient safety. The death of Peter Connelly (Baby P) at the hands of his parents in 2007 justified those fears, but not until 2011 did the hospital apologise for Holt’s treatment. She is one of a rare group of NHS whistleblowers who held onto their jobs, luck having played a part when services were transferred to Whittington Health. She has advised the Care Quality Commission on its inspection methodology to better support whistleblowers, and she currently works in Haringey as the designated doctor for children in care.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be a cameraman or newsreader. The link here to medicine, I guess, is that I enjoy telling people’s stories: I’m really interested in how people tick and in understanding their experience. This is exactly what child protection and, more recently, listening to whistleblowers, is about. I have an embarrassing habit in cafés of listening to conversations at neighbouring tables—something my children …

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