CHANGES MADE TO NHS CONSTITUTION TO ENSHRINE WHISTLEBLOWING LAW

19 October 2011

Doctors, nurses and other NHS workers who blow the whistle will be protected in the future, under changes to the NHS Constitution announced by the Health Secretary.

The changes will also make it clear that it is the duty of all NHS workers to report bad practice or any mistreatment of patients receiving care from the health service.

The changes will be enshrined in the NHS Constitution and associated guidelines as soon as possible to encourage more staff to come forward with concerns. This follows the poor care exposed by the Care Quality Commission last week after unannounced inspections of 100 NHS hospitals.

Changes to the constitution, to be made in early 2012, will add:

  • an expectation that staff should raise concerns at the earliest opportunity;
  • a pledge that NHS organisations should support staff when raising concerns by ensuring their concerns are fully investigated and that there is someone independent, outside of their team, to speak to; and
  • clarity around the existing legal right for staff to raise concerns about safety, malpractice or other wrong doing without suffering any detriment.

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