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					                           Whistleblowing Policy
                                             Policy No. PP20




Document Version:

Date:                                          April 2002

Review:                                        April 2003

Author:                                        Director of Organisational Development


Date Approved by Trust Board:                  April 2002

Date Approved by ………………………… Committee




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                             WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY

1.      BACKGROUND INFORMATION

        1.1      This Policy is about staff raising concerns about workplace issues and
                 it is popularly know as a Whistleblowing Policy. It applies to all staff
                 employed by the Trust or working within the Trust

        1.2      The Policy does not affect existing guidance on statutory complaints
                 procedures as set out in HC(88)37.

                 The Policy complements professional or ethical rules, guidelines and
                 codes of conduct on freedom of speech such as, for example, the
                 UKCC Code of Professional Conduct, A Midwives’ Code of Practice,
                 and the GMC Guidance on Contractual Arrangements in Healthcare.

        1.3      Following the passing of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (1998) by
                 Parliament and the issuing of Health Service Circular 1999/1998 on the
                 27th August 1999, Wandsworth Primary Care Trust has produced this
                 policy in order to inform members of staff how actions which could be
                 regarded as Whistleblowing will be managed.

2.      INTRODUCTION

        2.1      The NHS exists to meet the needs of patients. The key principle of this
                 policy is that their individual interests must be paramount. All NHS
                 employers have a duty to draw to the attention of their managers any
                 matters they consider to be damaging to the interests of a patient or
                 client and to put forward suggestions which may improve their care.

        2.2      All of us at one time or another have concerns regarding things we see
                 and hear at work. Usually these concerns are easily resolved through
                 your line manager. However, when they are about potential unlawful
                 conduct, financial malpractice or dangers to patients, the public or
                 environment, it can be difficult to know what to do.

        2.3      You may be worried about raising such issues or may want to keep the
                 concerns to yourself, perhaps feeling it’s none of your business or that
                 it’s only a suspicion. You may feel that raising the matter would be
                 disloyal to colleagues, managers or to the organisation. You may
                 decide to say something but find that you are unsure who to approach,
                 how to raise the issue or are not sure what to do next.

        2.4      Wandsworth Primary Care Trust has introduced this procedure to
                 enable you to raise your concerns at an early stage and in the right
                 way. We would rather that you raised the matter when it is just a
                 concern rather than wait for proof.

        2.5      The Trust is committed to a fair blame culture. This means that staff do
                 not feel afraid of reporting their concerns so that action can be taken
                 and lessons learned.


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        2.6      If something is troubling you which you think we should know about or
                 look into, please use this procedure. This Whistleblowing Procedure is
                 primarily for concerns where the interests of others or of the
                 organisation itself are at risk.

                 If in doubt - raise it!

        2.7      The Whistleblowers Policy is not intended to deal with grievances or
                 staff disputes which should be resolved using the Trust Grievance
                 Procedure.

3.      OUR ASSURANCES TO YOU

        3.1      Your Safety

                 The Board and Chief Executive are committed to this policy. The Trust
                 will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone raising a
                 concern. If you raise a genuine concern under this policy, they will
                 support you as much as is possible to minimise the risk of victimisation
                 from other people or suffering any form of retribution as a result.
                 Provided you are acting in good faith, it does not matter if you are
                 mistaken. However if someone maliciously raises a matter they know
                 is untrue, they themselves may be subject to disciplinary action.

        3.2      Your Confidence

                 However, we recognise that you may nonetheless want to raise a
                 concern in confidence under this policy. If you ask us to protect your
                 identity by keeping your confidence, we will not disclose it without your
                 consent. If the situation arises where we are not able to resolve the
                 concern without revealing your identity (for instance because your
                 evidence is needed in Court), we may have to reveal your identity but
                 we will discuss with you whether and how we can proceed.

        3.3      Remember that if you do not tell us who you are, it will be much more
                 difficult for us to look into the matter or to protect your position or to
                 give you feedback. Accordingly, while we will consider anonymous
                 reports, this policy is not appropriate for concerns raised anonymously.

4       HOW WE WILL HANDLE THE MATTER

        4.1      Once you have told us of your concern, we will look into it to assess
                 initially what action should be taken. This may involve an internal
                 inquiry or a more formal investigation. We will tell you who is handling
                 the matter, how you can contact him/her and whether your further
                 assistance may be needed. If you request, we will write to you
                 summarising your concern and setting out how we propose to handle it.




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        4.2      When you raise the concern you may be asked how you think the
                 matter might best be resolved. If you do have any personal interest in
                 the matter, we do ask that you tell us at the outset. If your concern falls
                 more properly within the Grievance Procedure we will tell you.

        4.3      While the purpose of this policy is to enable us to investigate possible
                 malpractice and take appropriate steps to deal with it, we will give you
                 as much feedback as we properly can. If requested, we will confirm
                 our response to you in writing. Please note, however, that we may not
                 be able to tell you the precise action we take where this would infringe
                 a duty of confidence owed by us to someone else.

5.      ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT THROUGH THE PROCESS

        We recognise that it can be very stressful to raise concerns under this policy.
        Therefore the Trust will help you through the process by providing support
        from members of the Human Resources Team, the staff counselling service
        OASIS (020 7380 9800) and your staff representatives are always there to
        assist (Staff Organisation Office 020 8355 2900). Where you decide to raise
        your concerns by using the internal part of this policy, members of the Human
        Resources team will be available to assist and support you.

6.      HOW TO RAISE A CONCERN INTERNALLY

        You may want to be accompanied by a work colleague or staff representative
        at any stage of the procedure.

        6.1      Step One

                 If you have a concern about malpractice, we hope you will feel able to
                 raise it first with your manager. Guidance for managers on how to
                 respond is set out in Appendix A. This may be done orally or in writing.

        6.2      Step Two

                 If you feel unable to raise the matter with your manager, for whatever
                 reason, or you still have concerns, or if you have not had a response to
                 your concern, please raise the matter with:

                     Your Director; or
                     another Director if appropriate, or
                     the Human Resources Department.

                 Please say if you want to raise the matter in confidence so that they
                 can made appropriate arrangements.

        6.3      Step Three

                 If these channels have been followed and you still have concerns, or if
                 you feel that the matter is so serious that you cannot discuss it with any
                 of the above, please contact:


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                     The Chief Executive on 020 8700 0552

        6.4      If you feel that the matter concerned is so serious that you cannot raise
                 it with any of the above, please contact either:

                     The Chair of the Trust on 020 8700 0553.

        6.5      If appropriate you may raise the matter with the Secretary of State for
                 Health. If you concern is about fraud and corruption, you can also
                 contact the NHS Fraud Hotline on 020 7404 6609.

7.      INDEPENDENT ADVICE

        If you are unsure whether to use this procedure or you want independent
        advice at any stage, you may contact:

             Your trade union or staff organisation
             The independent Charity Public Concern at Work on 020 7404 6609.
              Their lawyers can give you free confidential advice at any stage about how
              to raise a concern about serious malpractice at work.

8.      THE HEALTH SERVICE COMMISSIONER (The Ombudsman)

        The Health Service Commissioner has authority to look into a complaint made
        by a member of staff on behalf of a patient provided he is satisfied that there
        is no one more appropriate, such as a relative, to act on the patient’s behalf.

9.      EXTERNAL CONTACTS

        9.1      Option 1

                 While we hope this policy gives you the reassurance you need to raise
                 such matters internally, we recognise that there may be circumstances
                 where you can properly report matters to outside bodies, such as
                 regulators or the police. Public Concern at Work will be able to advise
                 you on such an option and on the circumstances in which you may be
                 able to contact an outside body safely.

        9.2      Option 2

                 While we hope this policy gives you the reassurance you need to raise
                 such matters internally, we would rather you raised a matter with the
                 appropriate regulator than not at all. Provided you are acting in good
                 faith and you have evidence to back up your concern, you can also
                 contact:

                 For Public Sector Finance Issues:
                 The Audit Commission on: 020 7630 1019

                 For Fraud and Fiscal Irregularities:
                 The Serious Fraud Office on: 020 7404 6609



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                 For Health and Safety Dangers:
                 The Health and Safety Executive on: 020 7717 6000

                 For Environmental Dangers:
                 The Environmental Agency on: 0800 80 70 60

10.     IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED

        If you are unhappy with our response, remember you can go to the other
        levels and bodies detailed in this policy. While we cannot guarantee that we
        will respond to all matters in the way that you might wish, we will try to handle
        the matter fairly and properly. By using this policy, you will help us to achieve
        this.

11.     PUBLICITY

        To be effective, the Whistleblowing Policy must be available and understood
        and staff must believe that it is effective. Therefore, the policy will be
        introduced with a publicity campaign including posters, individual leaflets and
        articles in the Trust publications. The publicity will be received and reported if
        necessary at regular intervals.

12.     REVIEW

        This Whistleblowing Policy will be reviewed annually by the Human
        Resources Department and Staff Organisations.




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                                                                       APPENDIX A

                             WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY

     GUIDANCE FOR MANAGERS ON RESPONDING TO A MATTER OF
               CONCERN RAISED BY A MEMBER OF STAFF



1.      Managers are expected to ensure that all staff are given every opportunity to
        make their contribution and that they must feel that their legitimate views will
        be welcomed, appreciated and where appropriate, acted on positively.
        Ensuring that the staff are aware of the Whistleblowing Policy is a crucial
        element of this.

2.      Under no circumstances are staff who express their views about Health
        Service issues in accordance with this policy to be penalised in any way for
        doing so.

3.      All instances of concerns are issues raised by members of staff under this
        policy must be treated seriously, quickly and confidentially.

4.      It must be recognised that raising concerns under this policy can be very
        stressful for the member of staff.

5.      When a member of staff raises a concern with them, the manager must listen,
        explain and inform them about progress and action which is being taken.

6.      Unless it is absolutely clear from the outset that a concern is trivial and can be
        dispelled immediately to the full satisfaction of those concerned, it is very
        important that all concerns are recorded - normally in a single central register.
        The follow up action should also be recorded. It is extremely damaging if
        serious, long standing problems emerge, and there is no written record that
        known staff concerns have ever been considered, recorded, or acted upon.

7.      When a matter is raised the manager must:

        7.1      take the matter seriously,

        7.2      recognise the member of staff’s concern,

        7.3      ensure that the member of staff understands the Whistleblowing
                 procedure,

        7.4      acknowledge the concern in writing within 48 hours,

        7.5      discuss ways that the member of staff could be supported,


        7.6      investigate the concern objectively, dealing with all parties with
                 sensitivity and tact,

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        7.7      consider granting the employee special leave,

        7.8      seek advice from the Human Resources team,

        7.9      seek advice and involve other managers if appropriate,

        7.10     set out clearly how the concern is to be taken forward,

        7.11     ensure that notes are made and kept of the process followed, notes of
                 discussions etc.,

        7.12     keep informed the person raising the concern about the progress made
                 and outcome of the investigation.

Training


8.      The Organisational Development Department will provide regular training
        opportunities for managers to help them deal effectively with concerns raised
        by staff under this Policy.




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