Health authorities and trusts are trying to remove secrecy within the NHS by appointing managers to protect whistleblowers.
John Denham, minister for health, announced that the government would issue the specially selected managers with an introductory booklet, a step by step guide on producing a whistleblowing policy and a computer disc informing staff of their rights and responsibilities.
Trusts and health authorities will be expected to issue all staff with guidance on how to report malpractice and give whistleblowers sufficient protection from victimisation.
“The government is committed to freedom of speech and creating a climate of openness everywhere in the NHS,” said Denham. “Whistleblowers protect the patient’s interest. I want all staff to feel they can speak out about NHS malpractice, whether it be poor clinical performance, safety at work, financial malpractice, poor governance or risk to patients, without fear of being frozen out by colleagues.”
Under the 1999 Public Interest Disclosure Act, employees victimised following the disclosure of information reasonably in the interests of the public, should be given statutory protection.