I spoke in a debate about the importance of creating a culture where whistleblowers are not persecuted for alerting authorities to malpractice and failure in our NHS – and all sectors - that threaten the public interest.
Staff who raise concerns need to be protected. Almost all official enquiries and reports that have followed high profile failings in our public services have shown that staff and co-workers had seen dangers but had been too afraid to raise the alarm, or had raised the alarm in the wrong way with the wrong person. This was true in cases like the Clapham Rail disaster, the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster and even in the empire of Robert Maxwell.
We must stamp out the culture where workers feel that to raise legitimate concerns could lead to them facing bullying or being targeted for unfair treatment.
The Scottish Government has implemented a number of measures to help protect whistleblowers in the NHS, creating a mechanism for independent external review where an individual has concerns about their whistleblowing case. The intention is to ensure that whistleblowing cases are concluded in a reasonable timescale.
A whistleblower must not be seen as a problem but as an individual who genuinely seeks to improve how things are done. Openness and transparency are key to learning and improvement and such a culture will give patients the confidence they need.
Please click the link below to hear my contribution to the debate.