XMAS FOI On NHS Whistleblowing

Paul Gaffney made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to West London NHS Trust

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 West London Mental Health NHS 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 Gaffney

Michael Patrick,

Dear Mr Gaffney

this is just an acknowledgement of your request which we will respond to
in due course

Yours

Dr MJL Patrick

>>> Paul Gaffney <[FOI #54632 email]> 12/12/2010
21:05 >>>
Dear West London Mental Health NHS 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 Gaffney

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Mr Gaffney

Apologies for the delay in our response to you.

The Trust's whistle blowing policy can be found on our website:
[1]http://www.wlmht.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploa...

The statistics you require will take longer to collate than the 18 hours
allowed by the Freedom of Information Act because they are not held on
computer. However, we can attempt to answer the questions within a
particular time frame. Are you agreeable to us providing the statistics
for the last 12 months?

Regards,
FOI WLMHT

DISCLAIMER: This email and any files transmitted with it are
confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual
or entity to whom they are addressed.(any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do NOT necessarily
represent those of West London Mental Health NHS Trust).
The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to
public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the
confidentiality of this e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

Please consider the environment, do you really need to print this email?

References

Visible links
1. http://www.wlmht.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploa...

West London Mental Health Trust request your assistance in completing the
form below to indicate your level of satisfaction in how your Freedom of
Information request was handled

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Please tick one box against each | |Your answer and any|
|question | | comments |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
|1. Did we act promptly? | | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
| |Poor / Good / Very| |
|(a) in acknowledging your request|Good | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
| |Poor / Good / Very| |
|(b) responding to your request |Good | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
|2. Was the reply to your request |Poor / Good / Very| |
|clear? |Good | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
|3. How would you rate our quality|Poor / Good / Very| |
|of work? |Good | |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

We much appreciate your time and thank you for completing this
questionnaire

Please return to [1][email address]

DISCLAIMER: This email and any files transmitted with it are
confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual
or entity to whom they are addressed.(any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do NOT necessarily
represent those of West London Mental Health NHS Trust).
The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to
public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the
confidentiality of this e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

Please consider the environment, do you really need to print this email?

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Dear foi foi,
I'll get back to you on that one at a later date...I just wonder if you could help with the relevant piece of case law that means medical professionals have a duty to inform of wrongdoing...

Yours sincerely,

Paul GaffneyLLB BA

West London Mental Health Trust request your assistance in completing the
form below to indicate your level of satisfaction in how your Freedom of
Information request was handled

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Please tick one box against each | |Your answer and any|
|question | | comments |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
|1. Did we act promptly? | | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
| |Poor / Good / Very| |
|(a) in acknowledging your request|Good | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
| |Poor / Good / Very| |
|(b) responding to your request |Good | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
|2. Was the reply to your request |Poor / Good / Very| |
|clear? |Good | |
|---------------------------------+------------------+-------------------|
|3. How would you rate our quality|Poor / Good / Very| |
|of work? |Good | |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

We much appreciate your time and thank you for completing this
questionnaire

Please return to [1][email address]

DISCLAIMER: This email and any files transmitted with it are
confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual
or entity to whom they are addressed.(any views or opinions
presented are solely those of the author and do NOT necessarily
represent those of West London Mental Health NHS Trust).
The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to
public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the
confidentiality of this e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

Please consider the environment, do you really need to print this email?

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]