Government to extend protections for NHS whistleblowers

20 Mar 2017 10:45 AM

NHS whistleblowers will be better protected by new rules that prohibit discrimination against them if they seek re-employment in the NHS.

Plans published today will prohibit discrimination against whistleblowers when they apply for jobs with NHS employers. The plans also strengthen the legal recourse whistleblowers can access if they believe they have been discriminated against because they appear to have blown the whistle - with appropriate remedies if their complaint is upheld.

These changes were a recommendation from Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up review, which found a number of people struggled to find employment in the NHS after making protected disclosures about patient safety.

The consultation, Protecting whistleblowers seeking jobs in the NHS, which opened today, seeks views on the draft regulations that aim to:

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Today we move another step closer to creating a culture of openness in the NHS, where people who have the courage to speak up about patient safety concerns are listened to, not vilified. These welcome changes will prohibit whistleblowers being discriminated against when they seek re-employment in the NHS, ultimately ensuring staff feel they are protected with the law on their side.

This furthers the Health Secretary’s aim to create an NHS that supports staff to raise patient safety concerns and welcomes those who have done so in the past.

Have your say on the draft regulations - the consultation is now open and will run for 8 weeks, closing on 12 May 2017.