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The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

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					The Public Interest
Disclosure Act 1998

Will It Protect the Whistleblower in
the National Health Service?

Linnette King RN, RNT, LLM, MSc, PGDip
Education, BSc(Hons)
University of Brighton
Session Aim and Outcomes
 To promote awareness of the principles of
  the public interest disclosure act
 To further responsible governance
 To enable a review of working attitudes
General Aims of PIDA
 The Act was a response to the public
  exposure of disasters and malpractice
 It provides comprehensive legal protection
  for whistleblowers
 To provide protection from victimisation
 Encourages collaboration and openness in
  organisations
 And for employers to provide constructive
  framework for public interest disclosure
Whistleblowing
 This is when someone speaks out regarding a
  concern which they reasonably believe should be
  in the public interest or domain



                        Hey! Did you
                        know that …?
Plethora of Public Scandals
 Bristol Royal Infirmary – major inquiry
 Alderhay mass storage of organs
 Eastbourne nursing review
 North Wales child abuse cases
 Harold shipman – ‘serial killer’
 Rodney Ledward – 16 years of malpractice
 Bryan Bladon – nursing home elder abuse
Common Themes
 Concerns raised by conscientious employee(s)
 Exposure of malpractice, corruption, illegal
  activity, fraud or harmful activities
 Ensuing enquiry
 A lack of any clear accountability
 Poor management systems
 A culture of secrecy
 Closed systems in working practice
 Poor standards/quality of patient care
A Telling Quote
 “The NHS seems to spend inordinate time
 and resources in displaying in the industrial
 tribunal, a standard and style of industrial
 relations which were quite unique in their
 respective insensitivity and arrogant
 incompetence.”

(John Hendy QC 1995)
Whistleblowing Dilemmas
 Breach of confidentiality of patients, others,
  organisation
 Suspicions only, no real proof
 Fear of victimisation, reprisals, etc.
 Loss of work, promotion prospects
 Financial loss
 Personal intimidation
Questions to Consider
 Who does the Act apply to?
 What disclosures would qualify for protection?
 Where/when would this matter for concern be
  happening?
 How would you whistleblow responsibly?
 What guidance are you aware of in your
  workplace to raise concerns?
 Why and when would you raise a concern outside
  of the organisation?
Some Brief Answers
 Covers a broad range of workers
 Reasonable belief of criminal, fraudulent,
  injustice, malpractice, or danger to health and
  safety and/or the environment
 Concern can be past, present or future
 And made in good faith
 Reasonable guidance/policy for workplace
  whistleblowing?
 Concerns can be made to prescribed
  persons/appropriate authorities
More Brief Answers
 Employers should establish effective
  reporting procedures for employees to
  access
 External whistleblowing is accepted when it
  is recognised that there is no procedure to
  follow, no apparent action internally, fear of
  retribution, or any likely cover-up, or matter
  of very serious public concern
What Policies Have Employers
Put in Place?
 Survey of 11 NHS Trusts (King 2000)
 3 had up-to-date policies
 3 had outmoded policies
 3 had no policy
 2 gave no response
Overall Answers
 Provide quality care by protecting patients,
  organisation and environment from further
  human tragedy
 All health care practitioners must accept
  their accountability in work
 Emphasis on responsible governance
 A whistleblowing policy which will help to
  clarify who is responsible for what and to
  whom
Key References
 Department of health. 2000. Guidance on
  implementation of code of practice on
  openness in the NHS
 Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended
  by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
 http://www.pcaw.demon.co.uk/

				
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