Employment protection for NHS whistleblowers

WHISTLEBLOWERS re-applying for jobs in the NHS will be protected from discrimination under new measures announced by the Department of Health.

New rules will prohibit NHS employers from acting unfairly towards applicants who have previously raised concerns.

Job seekers will be given the right to complain to an employment tribunal if they believe they have been the victim of this type of discrimination. A clear process has also been set out in the government’s plans, detailing a timeframe for lodging complaints and the remedies the tribunal should award if a complaint is upheld.

The changes were among the recommendations of Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up review which was published in February 2015. It found a number of people struggled to find employment in the NHS after making protected disclosures about patient safety.

The government has opened a consultation into its proposals, entitled Protecting whistleblowers seeking jobs in the NHS.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the plans helped move another step closer to “creating a culture of openness in the NHS, where people who have the courage to speak up about patient safety concerns are listened to, not vilified.”

He added: “These welcome changes will prohibit whistleblowers being discriminated against when they seek re-employment in the NHS, ultimately ensuring staff feel they are protected with the law on their side.”

The consultation is open until May 12, 2017 and can be viewed here

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