NHS whistleblowing champions ‘can come straight to me’, says Jeane Freeman

Written by Tom Freeman on 8 October 2018 in News

Jeane Freeman says she will introduce new measures to support whistleblowers and personally appoint champions to every board

Jeane Freeman at #SNP18 - Tom Freeman/Holyrood

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman will personally appoint whistleblowing champions to every health board, she has announced.

In her speech to SNP conference in Glasgow, Freeman said NHS staff who want to report unsafe practice or bullying must feel able to speak up.

“If there is anyone in our health service who is feeling bullied or harassed I take that very seriously - and I want you to come forward,” she said.

The speech came weeks after it emerged a whistleblowing champion had quit the board of NHS Tayside because he said it had failed to respond to a bullying culture.

Munwar Hussain said allegations surrounding the suicide of a junior doctor were not being taken seriously enough by leadership.

A number of other non-executive members of the board have left in recent months.

Last week there were further allegations of bullying at NHS Highland.

Freeman told delegates at SNP conference she will strengthen the process for whistleblowers.

“One step I will take is that I will personally appoint each board’s whistleblowing champion,” she said.

“So if any one of these dedicated professionals feels they are not being heard in their boards, they can come straight to me.”

Freeman also announced measures to encourage recently retired NHS staff to become mentors for new staff entering the health services.

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