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Lansley encourages ‘whistleblowing culture’

Following the failures that have been documented at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has launched a consultation to make changes to the NHS Constitution and its Handbook. The amendments are intended to prevent NHS trusts from suppressing staff, giving employees a constitutional obligation to ‘blow the whistle’.

The consultation aims to install three changes: highlighting existing legal rights of all staff to raise concerns; introducing an NHS pledge that employers will support all staff in raising such concerns; and creating an expectation that NHS staff will raise concerns about safety, malpractice or wrongdoing at work.

“A public inquiry into the failings at Mid-Staffordshire is already underway,” said Lansley, “but it’s important that we don’t delay making changes to prevent such failures from happening again. The NHS Constitution must be brought up to date to enshrine the rights of staff.

“Staff should be working in an environment where they feel able to voice concerns and know that their concerns will be taken seriously. The changes we are consulting on take that a step further. Staff will be expected to raise concerns and employers must support them and investigate where necessary. That means better patient care and better staff morale.”