NHS and social care staff can now raise concerns about patient care using a new whistleblowing helpline.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley launched the free, Government-funded service to encourage staff and employers in both the social care sector and the NHS to speak out about poor practice. The service is in addition to a new contractual duty to raise concerns which will be enshrined in the new NHS Constitution.
Mr Lansley said: “Staff on the frontline know when patient services need to improve. That's why staff who blow the whistle are crucial in helping to raise standards, and we’re determined to support them.
“Making it easier for staff to challenge the institutional power of organisations is a key factor in preventing, identifying and tackling pockets of culturally poor practice. This [helpline] will play an important role in creating a culture where staff will be able to raise genuine concerns in good faith, without fear of reprisal.”
A web-based whistleblowing service is also being developed.
The new helpline number is 08000 724 725 and operates weekdays from 8am to 6pm with an out-of-hours answering service.