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Friday 28th October 2016

Whistle blowers should not be penalised

14th May 2010

The British Medical Association in Scotland has said that whistle blowers should not be victimised by their NHS employers.


With the publication of a survey of members in a document entitled Standing Up for Doctors; Speaking Out for Patients, the BMA found that the majority of hospital doctors have at one time had important concerns about patient care or staff behaviour.

But what also emerged was a picture that almost half of these doctors did not report their concerns because they did not believe it would make a difference or feared the consequences of doing so.

Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish Consultants Committee Dr Charles Saunders said: “As clinical leaders, doctors have a duty to speak out when they have concerns. However, as the results of this survey bear out, this is not always possible or effective.

“We have concerns around the culture of many NHS organisations. Doctors tell us they fear their careers can be affected by speaking out. This is completely wrong. We must move to a culture where every individual in a health organisation can raise concerns that are looked at and acted upon appropriately.”

He said NHS organisations needed to value the staff who are there to deliver and improve patient care and stressed that ministers and NHS Board members need to “send a clear message” that they want to hear about things they can do better.

The BMA wants the Scottish Government and NHS employers to raise awareness of whistle-blowing policies and protect the right of doctors to speak out without risk to their employment.


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