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MP criticises lack of protection for whistleblowers

27 April 2009

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More should be done to allow medical professionals the chance to speak out about concerns over patient care without risking their careers, an MP has said.

Tony Wright made the statement in the wake of two high-profile NHS cases that raised question marks over the ability of staff to blow the whistle on problems.

Earlier this month, Margaret Haywood was struck off the nursing register after secretly filming neglected patients in a Brighton hospital, while last month the Healthcare Commission published a report into “appalling conditions” at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Wright, who helped introduce legislation to protect whistleblowers at work, suggested that the Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998 was failing in its mission.

The Labour MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire told BBC’s Panorama: “The whole point of introducing whistleblower provisions was that someone had got somewhere to go so they could raise these concerns quite properly without threatening their job, without damaging their career and indeed without having to go to the media.

“The government should revisit the guidance – but we know from Stafford cases and I suspect other cases too – what is said in terms of guidance and what happens on the ground is probably very, very different.”

Copyright © Press Association


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