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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 4 February 2003, Official Report. column 230W, on whistleblowers, who in the Department is responsible for examining such cases. [129336]

[holding answer 15 September 2003]: The Department's policy is that, wherever possible, concerns raised by staff should be dealt with locally in accordance with local policies and procedures on whistleblowing, so that problems can be addressed quickly. However, there have been cases where whistleblowers have considered the local response inadequate, and as a consequence have sought to raise their concerns with the Department. Such cases are examined by the relevant strategic health authorities at the request of the human resources directorate of the Department.An updated policy pack to support organisations in developing and/or reviewing their whistleblowing policies and procedures was sent by the director of human resources to all National Health Service trusts and health authorities on 25 July 2003. A copy has been placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 234W, on whistleblowers, what steps he has taken in response to the Prime Minister's letter of 23 October 2002 concerning Mark Heyes. [129335]

[holding answer 15 September 2003]: Officials have looked into the matters which Mr. Heyes raised in his letter to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. These were considered to be a reiteration of previous issues, which have already been investigated by the Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals National Health Service Trust.The Department of Health cannot intervene in individual NHS trust employment issues and Mr. Heyes has been advised to seek independent legal advice.