Kate Brooks

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 10 Mar 2016 LAST UPDATED: 15 Apr 2021

NHS Whistleblower Protection potentially insufficient – leaving patient’s safety at risk

Undoubtedly, it is in the public interest for individuals to be able to speak up and make protected disclosures. Whistleblower Protection is therefore a great concern for all industries.

There have been increasing concerns in recent years that the NHS staff are afraid to make a protected disclosure. The Health Secretary approached Sir Robert Francis QC and requested that he carry out an independent review into whistleblowing in the NHS.

The review confirms our concerns as the statistics reveal that, out of the 859 members of staff who hadn’t made a disclosure, 24.1% reported that they had not done so as were afraid of being victimised and 19% did not trust the system.

The review details a long list of action points for the NHS to take in future, with the aim of improving protection for whistleblowers. The main focus is to make those who do victimise whistleblowers account for their actions, the hope being that victimisation will stop and staff will regain confidence in the system.

All employers should have an up to date Whistleblowing Policy, detailing the relevant procedures that employees are to follow when making a protected disclosure. If you are an employer and have any queries regarding your current policies, or if you are an employee and feel you may have been victimised as a result of being a whistleblower, please contact me at kate.brooks@ellisjones.co.uk.

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