XMAS FOI On NHS Whistleblowing

Paul Gaffney made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Luton and Dunstable Hospital

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

I have done some research and found there are a number of pieces of guidance on how best to ‘whistleblow ‘in the NHS.
Examples include:
1) Each trust is expected to have a’ whistleblowing’ policy modelled on 2003 Department of Health Guidance.
2)Other ‘whistleblowing’ guidance that is issued to general practitioners by NHS employers after the Shipman Inquiry and a Code of Practice published in 2008 by the British Standards and Public Concern at Work .
3 )A Doctor’s duty to report concerns is set out in the General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice published in 2006 supported by supplementary guidance Raising Concerns About Patient Safety.
‘43. You must protect patients from risk of harm posed by another colleague’s conduct,
performance or health. The safety of patients must come first at all times. If you have
concerns that a colleague may not be fit to practise, you must take appropriate steps
without delay, so that the concerns are investigated and patients protected where
necessary. This means you must give an honest explanation of your concerns to an
appropriate person from your employing or contracting body, and follow their
procedures.
44. If there are no appropriate local systems, or local systems do not resolve the problem,
and you are still concerned about the safety of patients, you should inform the relevant
regulatory body. If you are not sure what to do, discuss your concerns with an impartial
colleague or contact your defence body, a professional organisation, or the GMC for
advice.
45. If you have management responsibilities you should make sure that systems are in place
through which colleagues can raise concerns about risks to patients, and you must
follow the guidance in Management for doctors.
So raising concerns is not just a matter of personal conscience – in some circumstances it is a
professional obligation.’

4) Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 ‘whistleblowers’ get legal protection against victimisation or dismissal for exposing malpractice at work. This piece of legislation followed a succession of cases where whistleblowers had been ignored , including the problems at Bristol Royal Infirmary ,where 29 babies and children died after heart surgery .
5) Until 1 April 2010 it was optional for NHS trusts to report serious untoward incidents to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).Since then there has been a duty to report introduced by the Care Quality Commission Registration Regulations 2009 ...a more demanding duty :
“This is a duty which is accomapied by sanctions in the criminal law for failure to report –and th ephraes in the regulations is ‘without delay’ –deaths which cannot be explained by the normal course of the illness the patient is suffering from.
And then equally significantly there’s a further duty ,again, to report events which appear –before anybody which has actually been injured or died from events in hospital –systems need to be in place which would expose patients to that sort of risk.’
THE QUESTIONS RAISED BY THIS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST ARE :
1) Is there any case law or any other pieces of legislation or other pieces of NHS or professional guidance which protect any possible ‘whistleblower.’?
2) Does the duty to inform of ‘wrongdoing’ extend to other staff: legal advisors,managers and social workers ,nurses and care assistants as well as doctors as well?Does it include a duty to inform of potential ‘wrongdoing’ that has come to light in other trusts and the like?
3) What punishment is meted out to those who knew of alleged wrongdoing and remained silent?
4) How many staff members have ‘whistleblown’ in your organisation?
Which department were they in?
How many are still employed there?
What were the outcomes of the attempt to ‘whistleblow’?

5) Despite pieces of legislation and professional guidance such as these nearly 90% of severance packages between NHS Trusts and departing doctors contain confidentiality clauses.The charity Public Concern at Work states that the law protects whistleblowers even if they have signed confidentiality arrangements.
a) How many confidentiality arrangements have been reached with former staff members?
b) What was the value of each agreement?
c) Does the 1998 Public Interest Disclosure Act make it illegal for NHS Trusts and other public bodies to include confidentiality clauses preventing the disclosure of information that is in the public interest? If not do they still have a duty to inform their professional body or indeed anyone else? Does this extend to any ‘act or omission’ (a term used in the Human Rights Act ) on the part of your organisation?
Yours sincerely
Paul Gaffney LLB BA
Ipswich
Suffolk

Yours faithfully,

Paul GaffneyLLB BA

Alloway Gillian (RC9) Luton & Dunstable Hospital TR, Luton and Dunstable Hospital

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information

Thank you for your enquiry requesting information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 which we received today. We will now proceed with
the request. It is our intention to have the information sent out by
12.1.11

The request is subject to any exemption which the Trust is entitled to
apply to refuse the request, some of which are absolute and some of
which only apply where the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs that in disclosing the information.

Once the information has been identified the Trust may also ask that a
fee be paid for processing and delivering the information to you.
Details of any fee to be charged will be notified to you as soon as
possible.

Any future correspondence you may have in relation to this matter should
be marked private & confidential and sent to the Freedom of Information
Lead. Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust, Lewsey Road, Luton, Beds, LU4 0DZ.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Manager

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Alloway Gillian (RC9) Luton & Dunstable Hospital TR, Luton and Dunstable Hospital

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for Information
I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by
the Trust under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please find our response enclosed.
1) Is there any case law or any other pieces of legislation or

other pieces of NHS or professional guidance which protect any

possible 'whistleblower.'?

This is all under the Trust's policy "Raising Concerns about Workplace
Practices".

2) Does the duty to inform of 'wrongdoing' extend to other staff:

legal advisors,managers and social workers ,nurses and care

assistants as well as doctors as well?Does it include a duty to

inform of potential 'wrongdoing' that has come to light in other

trusts and the like?

All Healthcare Professionals are subject to a Code of Practice. These
Codes of Practice describe the expectations placed on the individuals
concerned.

3) What punishment is meted out to those who knew of alleged

wrongdoing and remained silent?

To date, the Trust has not had any examples of this.

4) How many staff members have 'whistleblown' in your organisation?
1

Which department were they in? Operational Services

How many are still employed there? 0

What were the outcomes of the attempt to 'whistleblow'? Full
investigation and appropriate action taken.

5) Despite pieces of legislation and professional guidance such as

these nearly 90% of severance packages between NHS Trusts and

departing doctors contain confidentiality clauses.The charity

Public Concern at Work states that the law protects whistleblowers

even if they have signed confidentiality arrangements.

a) How many confidentiality arrangements have been reached with

former staff members? None in relation to whistleblowing

b) What was the value of each agreement? N/A

c) Does the 1998 Public Interest Disclosure Act make it illegal for

NHS Trusts and other public bodies to include confidentiality

clauses preventing the disclosure of information that is in the

public interest? If not do they still have a duty to inform their

professional body or indeed anyone else? Does this extend to any

'act or omission' (a term used in the Human Rights Act ) on the

part of your organisation? Yes

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If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future
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If for whatever reason you are unhappy with our response you are
entitled to pursue any dissatisfaction through the Trust's Complaints
Procedure. The Trust's Complaints Officer can be contacted or by writing
to Patient Affairs. Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust, Lewsey
Road, Luton, Beds, LU4 0DZ.

If you are not content with the outcome your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by Luton and Dunstable Hospital Foundation Trust.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Manager

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