Dedicated support for NHS whistle-blowers

Following successful pilots, the NHS in England is to roll out dedicated support for members of staff who raise the alarm on unsafe practice.

It means that any doctor, nurse, or other worker across the country can gain additional support to build their career after raising concerns at work. The scheme will offer staff career coaching, shadowing opportunities, work experience, CV writing advice, interview skills practice and resilience training to former or current members of staff who have blown the whistle on poor practice.

Part of the NHS Long Term Plan to improve care, the move is part of a package of measures to put a renewed focus on the well-being of patients under NHS care and follows publication earlier this year of a world-first patient safety strategy, which included a requirement for every local health service to have a dedicated patient safety specialist.

The launch follows the success of two pilot projects, started in 2017, which offered targeted support to 16 people who left the health service after they raised concerns about their organisation, with one in three successfully helped to retain or regain employment in the NHS.

Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “NHS staff raise concerns because they care about our patients, and every member of our workforce – midwife, therapist, cleaner, surgeon or receptionist – who spots and reports poor practice should be supported to help put things right.

“The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a world-leading package of measures to improve patients’ treatment and care, but we must keep getting the basics right, which is why we produced the first ever national patient safety strategy, are making it easier for our people to report problems and are taking steps to show our clinicians and other staff the same duty of care that we offer patients.”

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHS, added: “Making the NHS the best place to work is vital for our staff and means better care for our patients. Our staff shouldn’t have to think twice before blowing the whistle on poor practice, but too often nurses, doctors and other important workers worry about the impact on their own career so  helping our world-class workforce to play a leading role in spotting and stopping problems as they arise will make the health service even safer as we deliver the NHS Long Term Plan.”

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