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Volume 688: debated on Monday 22 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What guidelines or regulations cover the treatment of whistleblowers in the National Health Service. [HL36]

Guidance on whistleblowing in the National Health Service was issued in September 1999 following the coming into force of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The guidance states that every NHS trust and health authority should have in place policies and procedures which comply with the Act. These are required to include guidance to help staff raise concerns in an appropriate way and with the right individuals, and guarantee that staff who raise concerns responsibly and reasonably will be protected against victimisation.

A whistleblowing policy pack, So Long Silence, was issued to all NHS employers in July 2003. This includes an explanatory booklet on whistleblowing and a guide to introducing appropriate policies. A complementary pack tailored to general practitioners and their staff was issued to all general practices in August 2005.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act gives significant statutory protection to employees who disclose information reasonably and responsibly in the public interest and are victimised as a result.