NHS whistleblowers still facing intimidation

AMONG a dossier of 70 cases involving NHS whistleblowers compiled by the network Patients First, almost half have left the NHS and 79 per cent reported bullying and intimidation.

The dossier forms part of a submission by the campaign group to an independent review of whistleblowing – Freedom to Speak Up – set up by the Department of Health and led by Sir Robert Frances.

Nearly half of the cases (47 per cent) are still ongoing but all the individuals involved report having suffered some form of loss, either professionally, personally or financially. Patients First concludes there is a "real and continuing problem over the treatment of those who raise concerns" despite numerous initiatives to encourage staff to report risks to patient safety.

Patients First chairwoman Dr Kim Holt told the BBC: "There has not been any real progress. I have been shocked by the number of people who come to us who are having problems. For me, bullying is the major issue.

"We need to get employers to take this seriously and implement the policies they have to give whistleblowers proper support. That is the only way of changing this."

Contributions to the The Freedom to Speak Up review closed on Wednesday 10 September and Sir Robert is expected to make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Health by the end of November.

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