NHS trusts fail to protect whistleblowers

One-in-three
NHS whistleblowers have faced reprisals, according to a survey by staff union
Unison.

Staff
are most frightened of raising concerns about unsafe staffing levels,
government targets, waiting lists, risks caused by other staff and a bullying
culture.

The
union surveyed 2,000 nurses, midwives, porters and cleaners and found that
one-in-three said their NHS trust would not welcome reports of a major problem.

Karen
Jennings, Unison’s head of health, said: “It is simply appalling that staff say
are victimised if they blow the whistle on bad practice in the NHS. This is
dangerous thinking and trusts are failing in their duty of care to patients and
staff by burying their heads in the sand over this issue. It is essential for
staff to be able to raise concerns about standards of patient care or staff
safety without the fear of reprisals. Employers must have clear whistleblowing
policies open and easily accessible to everyone.

“It
is very worrying that half of all those asked did not even know if their trust
had a whistleblowing policy. And even more alarming, one third said their trust
would rather not be told if there was a major problem.“

The
key findings of the report:


90 per cent had blown the whistle when they had concerns about patient safety


50 per cent did not know if their trust had a whistleblowing policy


33 per cent said their trust would want them to blow the whistle even if it
resulted in bad publicity


30 per cent said their trust would not want to be told there was a major
problem


Only a quarter thought the culture was improving

By Quentin Reade

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