NHS on hunt for whistleblowing champions

Monday 22nd July 2019

The health service is on the hunt for whistleblowing champions to support staff speaking out about patient safety and workplace worries.

Champions will have to actively encourage NHS workers to report any concerns about patient safety or malpractice they might have.

A review into allegations of bullying at NHS Highland, published in May of this year, prompted the Government to announce a new whistleblower programme would be established.

Significant, harmful and multi-layered’ bullying was found to have taken place, with the report concluding senior management often failed to respond and leaders in government and the NHS could have acted sooner.

The government hopes the new whistleblowing champions will be able to tackle this culture wherever it exists.

Other duties of the champions include protecting any whistleblower from possible negative consequences and ensuring health officials follow up on reports.

If they believe appropriate action has not been taken, they have the power to escalate any issues direct to the Scottish Government.

NHS Tayside is encouraging locals to make the most of the opportunity to help ‘improve, sustain and protect’ the health of those living in the area.

A previous whistleblowing champion at the health board resigned from the post amid claims concerns were not being taken seriously.

While candidates do not need to be health and care experts, they do need to be committed to ensuring an ‘open and transparent’ health service. Successful applicants for the one day a week position will be offered training and receive a salary of £8,000.

All of Scotland’s 14 regional NHS boards and eight national boards, which provide specialist services, are recruiting.

Jeane Freeman, the Health Secretary, said the new role would be “hugely worthwhile”.

“We are looking for people who share the NHS Scotland values which guide the work of the board in everything that it does. These values are care and compassion; dignity and respect; openness, honesty and responsibility; and, quality and teamwork,” she added.

“…We are looking for people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds who are sensitive to the diverse needs of people and the health and care services which affect them, and who have an understanding of the complexities of whistleblowing.”