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NHS Constitution changes to protect ‘whistle-blowers’

Health staff who raise concerns about poor patient care will be protected in the future under new changes to the NHS Constitution, according to the Department for Health. The changes will also make it clear that it is the duty of all NHS workers to report bad practice or any mistreatment of patients receiving care from the health service.


The changes will be enshrined in the NHS Constitution and associated guidelines as soon as possible to encourage more staff to come forward with concerns. They follow a public consultation on whistle-blowing and the NHS Constitution.

Changes to the constitution, to be made in early 2012, will add an expectation that staff should raise concerns at the earliest opportunity; a pledge that NHS organisations should support staff by ensuring their concerns are fully investigated; and clarity around the existing legal right for staff to raise concerns about safety, malpractice or other wrong doing without suffering any detriment.

[quote top=Health Minister Andrew Lansley said] The first lines of defence against bad practice are the doctors and nurses doing their best to care for patients. They need to know that they have a responsibility to their patients to raise concerns if they see risks to patient safety. And when they do, they should be reassured that the Government stands full square behind them. [/quote]