NHS WHISTLEBLOWERS MUST NEVER BE GAGGED – The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will outlaw, as of today, any type of ‘gagging order’ imposed on doctors, nurses and staff at any NHS hospital in the wake of public outcry of the on-going failings of the NHS under the Chief Sir David Nicolson.
From reports coming out, previous ‘gagging orders’ have prevented hundreds of NHS staff from speaking out and bring to public light the failings of the system and those responsible, such as Sir David Nicholson.
Jeremy Hunt has said that staff would be given new legal rights to raise issues that could put patients at risk and in order to prevent a repeat of the Mid-Staffordshire fiasco that lead to the deaths of over 1,200 patients.
From this point on the practice of gagging staff who resign or who are sack will no longer be tolerated and staff may openly raise concerns for issues concerning management performance and ability and areas of patient care where any incident puts a patient’s life at risk.
Jeremy Hunt went on to say that the NHS must have a culture of ‘openness and transparency’ in order to provide a standard of healthcare that is acceptable to the public and to ensure that a repeat of the Mid-Staffordshire incident is never allow to be repeated.
“There has been a culture where people felt if you speak up about problems in the NHS you didn’t love the NHS. Actually, it’s exactly the opposite. We need a culture of openness and transparency if we are going to stop another Mid Staffs from happening. The era of gagging NHS staff from raising their real worries about patient care must come to an end.” Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary
It is a fact, that under a so-called democratic society, in which we supposedly live, this incident should never have needed reporting. The very fact that ‘gagging’ was allowed and practiced by government officials is simply unacceptable, something that Jeremy Hunt is fully aware of.
We need in order to function as a society to put aside our fears of admonishment and be able to stand up and admit when something goes wrong. In my view this practice of being open and transparent would in fact restore the public’s faith in government figures. We all understand that things, from time to time will go wrong, and we do expect answers and plans to be implemented so as to ensure that the same failings are not repeated.
The real problems with covering things up, as the government so often tries to do, results in nothing more than a loathing for the government by the people. The level of trust diminishes with each lie uncovered and yet if government ministers were to openly communication their failing most people would understand and at least appreciate that the truth was given.
As for the NHS and Sir David Nicholson, the saga continues. MP’s now intent to question Sir David over the ‘gagging orders’ he and Dame Barbara sanctioned that cost the taxpayer some £14.7 million, over a period of just 3 years, in which over 600 staff are said to have been paid off to keep them quiet; including the £500,000 paid to Gary Walker who eventually blew the whistle on what is being perceived as a direct act to hide from the public Sir David’s failings that caused the death of so many innocent lives.
One thing is for sure and that is we have not heard the last of the incidents with the NHS or Sir David Nicholson and many are asking how long will the Prime Minister stand behind Sir David supporting his position before he finally realizes that the people want him gone and the longer the Prime Minister insists that Sir David is doing a great job the more damage he is doing to his own repudiation as a leader of the government.