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NHS rolls out whistleblower support scheme across England


By Eleanor Philpotts
10 October 2019

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NHS England is launching a support system for employees who have blown the whistle on unsafe practice.

Following two pilots, one of which was within primary care, the NHS will offer practical support to doctors, nurses or workers in other specialities who require further support in building their career after raising concerns within their workplace.

The scheme is set to incorporate career coaching, shadowing opportunities, resilience training, work experience, advice on writing CVs and interview skills practice to both former or current staff members who have drawn attention towards poor practice.

The pilots began two years ago and targeted support to 16 people who left the healthcare service after raising concerns regarding their organisation. It saw one in three successfully helped to retain or regain employment within the NHS.

Focus on wellbeing

Steps towards greater provision of support for whistleblowers form part of the wider long term plan, but more specifically a series of measures focusing on the wellbeing of NHS patients.

This announcement comes after this year’s publication of a patient safety strategy – that stated that every local health service should include a dedicated patient safety specialist.

It also follows evidence that health services found to deliver a higher quality of patient care are likelier to have a positive speaking up culture.

‘Supported’

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘NHS staff raise concerns because they care about our patients, and every member of our workforce – midwife, therapist, cleaner, surgeon or receptionist – who spots and reports poor practice should be supported to help put things right.’

The NHS’ chief people officer, Prerana Issar, added: ‘Making the NHS the best place to work is vital for our staff and means better care for our patients.

‘Our staff shouldn’t have to think twice before blowing the whistle on poor practice, but too often nurses, doctors and other important workers worry about the impact on their own career so  helping our world-class workforce to play a leading role in spotting and stopping problems as they arise will make the health service even safer as we deliver the NHS long term plan.’

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