NHS 'gagging clauses' banned14th March 2013
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for an end to "gagging clauses" in severance agreements for NHS staff in England.
He told the Daily Mail that there must be a clampdown on such practices with agreements in future being worded in such a way that they would still allow people to whistle-blow.
The use of "gagging" agreements has become widespread within the NHS, with more than 400 approved by the Department of Health in the last five years.
Mr Hunt said there needed to be a "culture of openness and transparency" at the heart of trying to drive up NHS standards.
"There has been a culture where people felt if you speak up about problems in the NHS you didn't love the NHS. Actually it's exactly the opposite," he said.
"We are now saying we won't approve any [compromise agreements] with a confidentiality clause that prevents people speaking out about patient safety or patient care.
"We will make sure there is a specific clause in them saying that nothing in them can prevent people speaking out."
Fellow Tory MP Stephen Barclay, who is a member of the Commons public accounts committee, is seeking to uncover how much public money has been spent on compromise agreements.
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