7. To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to encourage and protect whistleblowers in public services or those working for companies fulfilling public contracts. (S3O-13288)
The Scottish Government has an established policy on whistleblowing for Scottish Government staff, which is based on the provisions of the civil service code and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The policy is published on the Scottish Government website.
The relevant national policy for NHS Scotland states:
“Organisations must welcome the raising of issues and concerns and promote this as a measure to ensure employee satisfaction and ultimately lead to improvements in patient care ... Employees must also be assured that no victimisation as a result of raising a concern will be tolerated by the organisation.”
It is for individual local authorities to ensure that their staff are aware of the policies that are in place to encourage and protect whistleblowers. Contracts between the Scottish Government and providers of goods and services do not normally include clauses on the relationship between the contractor and his staff, beyond those that are necessary for performance of the contract.
Does the Scottish Government agree that, with reference to whistleblowing, WikiLeaks provides a valuable service; that individuals who provide information to it, such as Bradley Manning, should be viewed as heroes rather than villains; that however they are viewed they should not be subject to cruel or degrading treatment; and that subjecting individuals to prolonged isolation is a form of torture?
Given that many national health service staff can be absent from work for weeks, months and, in some cases, years—both paid and unpaid absence—will the Government ensure that employment mediation services are available and do all that is possible to get valued staff back to work rather than punish people for raising issues of patient safety?
I just asked whether the Government will ensure that NHS staff who have been off work for months and years are given access to employment mediation services and that staff are not punished for raising issues of patient safety.