NHS: Disclosure of Information

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of protections for NHS whistle-blowers and their ability to publicly raise concerns on (a) gaps in healthcare provisions and (b) other matters without adverse repercussions.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and quality services. The Employment Rights Act 1996, amended by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, gives legal protection to all workers who speak up whether in private or public. In addition, the Government established an independent National Guardian to drive cultural change across the National Health Service so that speaking up becomes business as usual. Legislation and cultural change are designed to create an environment of trust and we have seen some progress. The National Guardian’s latest Freedom to Speak Up Index showed that 82% of trusts had made it easier to speak up since 2015. If NHS workers feel uncomfortable raising concerns through their line management or clinical lead, they can speak to their Freedom to Speak Up Guardian or to regulators. NHS workers should be thanked for speaking up and never face detriment for doing so.

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