PM Rishi Sunak Condemns Gagging of NHS Whistleblowers as ‘Wrong’

PM Rishi Sunak Condemns Gagging of NHS Whistleblowers as 'Wrong'
credit: thetimes

London (Parliament News) – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak indicates Government will help concerns to be raised in the wake of the investigation exposing the practice.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stated that it is “wrong” for the NHS to gag whistleblowers, in the wake of an investigation uncovering the practice in the health service.

It has been revealed that more than 50 doctors and nurses argued that they had been targeted after raising problems of upwards of 170 patient deaths and nearly 700 cases of poor care.

Whistleblowers claimed that NHS supervisors were spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on law companies and private eyes to investigate them. The health service disbursed more than £4 million on legal action against a single whistleblower in one issue, which included £3.2 million in compensation.

How Will PM Ensure Whistleblower Protection in NHS?

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister stated that the Government would “make sure that people do have the capacity to raise concerns” in light of the examination.

Mr Sunak was asked by Sir Keir Starmer during the Prime Minister’s Questions whether he would dedicate himself to ensuring that those who stifle whistleblowers would no extent be able to work in the NHS. The Prime Minister stated: “Of course, the behaviour that the honourable gentleman describes is wrong and I believe already is illegal under our laws, but we will make sure that people do have the ability to raise concerns.”

The Labour leader mentioned past remarks from Jeremy Hunt as he spoke in the Commons: “As health secretary, the now Chancellor said the era of gagging NHS staff from raising their worries about patient care must come to an end.

“But 11 years on, and 10 months on from the Lucy Letby case, there are still clear examples of 

NHS managers still gagging staff and then being moved on instead of being moved out. “So will the Prime Minister now commit to ensuring that those who do gag and silenced whistleblowers will no longer be able to work in the NHS?”

During the trial of Letby, who was discovered guilty of murdering seven babies and trying to murder six others in a neonatal unit, it was announced that several doctors had raised concerns.

Sir Keir added: “We need reform, we need transformation and I’ve seen first-hand how important reform is during my time running the Crown Prosecution Service. But I also noticed how hard it is, particularly on cultural matters. It requires brave decisions and difficult decisions.”

The discussion came days after the final report was publicised on the infected blood scandal, which Mr Sunak stated had resulted from “moral disappointment at the heart of our national life” in which doctors, civil servants and ministers had put reputations above patient safety.

Thousands of people were contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C by contaminated blood products utilised in the NHS between the 1970s and 1990s. Sir Robert Francis KC has been promoted as chairman of the independent Infected Blood Compensation Authority, which will supervise the payment of victims.

How Will Government Reform NHS Whistleblower Policies

Addressing both the situations over NHS whistleblowing and justice for infected blood victims, Mr Sunak stated: “One thing that I know has given many of those who have been affected by this scandal some reassurance as the designation of Robert Francis to be chair of the inquiry, who obviously as someone who not just has a wealth of knowledge dealing with this particular set of issues but has a long track history of working with the NHS as well on the issues that the honourable gentleman raises.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.