Legal protection for whistleblowers.

Call for greater legal protection for whistleblowers.

We have heard many fine words deploring the alleged misconduct on the part of  a minority of carers  recently following the BBC’s Panorama ‘fly on wall’ documentary.  We may be excused for thinking that something is being done especially as some of those speakers mention systems in place to protect whistleblowers.  So should we be concerned or not?

Well, thanks to an article by Nina Lakhani in the Independent, we are able to appreciate that there are to be calls by leading health professionals for greater and more effective protection for whistleblowers in this country amidst concerns that there is a ‘code of silence’ operating in the NHS.

This is despite the passing of the Public Interest Act 1998.  It would be interesting to learn whether there have been any protected disclosures under the Act and the outcomes of these disclosures.  We are not talking about trivial matters here.  The 1998 Act defines disclosures qualifying for protection as:

Disclosures qualifying for protection:

1  In this Part a "qualifying disclosure" means any disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, tends to show one or more of the following -

  • that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed,
  • that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject,
  • that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
  • that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
  • that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged, or
  • that information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed.

 

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