NHS: Disclosure of Information

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 4th September 2018.

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Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the judgment of Beatt v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust [2017] EWCA Civ 401, what steps are being taken to ensure that responses to disclosures by NHS whistleblowers are not influenced by the personal feelings of staff towards those people making such disclosures.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Speaking up and raising concerns should be routine in business in the National Health Service and is a key part of ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services. The NHS should support and welcome all staff to raise concerns wherever they spot them, without prejudice to any personal feelings regarding those speaking up.

NHS Improvement has developed the national integrated whistleblowing policy, which acts as a minimum standard for NHS trusts, and has been designed so as to minimise the chance of personal feelings influencing the way that people who speak up are treated.

The National Guardian’s Office has advised the Department that all NHS trusts are required to have a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian to provide safe, consistent, person-centred support for speaking up, whether the individual would qualify for protection under the law or not. Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are trained by the National Guardian’s Office to support all individuals equally. They also work within their organisation to improve all aspects of speaking up so that individuals receive the same quality of support irrespective of the route that they use.

Their training also routinely includes an assessment of their organisation’s speaking up / whistleblowing policies so that aspects of policies that may act as a barrier to speaking up are identified and changed.

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