14 June 2010
More protection to be implemented to protect NHS whistleblowers
Workers who blow the whistle on bad practice in their organisations in the NHS are to be afforded greater protection.
This is according to new health secretary Andrew Lansley, who recently told the House of Commons that he is to implement new rules to prevent them being victimised.
In addition, a public inquiry is to be launched into the scandal involving the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, he noted.
The issue centres on the unnecessary deaths of at least 400 patients who underwent treatment between 2005 and 2008.
He remarked: "I am confident after the inquiry we will be able to discuss conclusions rather than just questions and will be able to show we are taking every step to ensure it is never allowed to happen again."
The politician - who assumed his role as part of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition following the election on May 6th - added that the work of the health trust should not be disrupted.
Arpita Dutt, employment solicitor at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "Better protection from victimisation for NHS whistleblowers is a welcome development given the gravity of cases that have come to light so far and the high burden on whistleblowers to establish their cases.
"The detail of the (as yet) undefined proposals will need to be examined, including whether the proposals will include more punitive measures for organisations who have been found to have victimised whistleblowers."