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22.08.17

Pilot launched to help whistleblowers return to NHS

A new pilot to ease NHS whistleblowers back into work has this week been launched by health chiefs in England.

The Whistleblowers Support Scheme will offer people who have revealed poor care practices in their workplace career coaching, financial advice and mediation.

Working Transitions has been appointed to run the pilot until March 2018, and the scheme has been designed with the assistance of former staff who had experience of whistleblowing and the effect it can have on people.

“It is simply inexcusable that talented, experienced staff should be lost to the NHS as the result of raising the legitimate concerns that help the health service improve,” said Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England.

“We have already implemented new measures in the wake of the Francis report and this scheme further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring openness and transparency are welcomed in the NHS.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Health also published plans to offer whistleblowers protection from discrimination in a bid to encourage more people to come forward about worrying care practices.

This was after a survey by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) warned that many of its members were concerned staff were not aware of the freedom to speak up whistleblowing guardian.  

For one whistleblower, Tracy, the experience of speaking up had a hugely negative impact on her career and her life.

“In 2010 my career as an HR director in the NHS came to a very abrupt end after I raised concerns,” she said. “None of my previous career experience or skills prepared me for what was about to follow and led to me becoming extremely ill and eventually being diagnosed with PTSD.

“The experience affected me hugely. Not only due to the fact that I lost a career I loved but the response and the treatment I received was brutal and still goes on to this day. That treatment had a significant impact on my health and is something that I still receive treatment for seven years on.

“Although it is in the pilot stage I only wished there had been such a scheme for me seven years ago. I have no doubt there will be changes and improvements as a result.”

Lynne Hardman, CEO of Working Transitions, said her company is very proud to have been selected to drive forward this initiative.

“Over the last 25 years we have supported around 750,000 people, from widely diverse situations, to overcome barriers and move forward with their careers,” added Hardman. “We are looking forward to playing a key role in ensuring that all participants achieve success.”

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