The government is unnecessarily risking public health by failing to protect whistle-blowers properly, according to UKIP’s new health spokesman.
A report released today, by the Public Accounts Committee says that too often those who highlight failures in the public sector, including the NHS, are treated ‘appallingly’ by their colleagues, and although there are policies in place to encourage and protect whistle-blowers, they bear no relation to what is actually happening in the workplace.
The committee heard from Kay Sheldon, a member of the board of the Care Quality Commission, who said had been “victimised” by senior officials after she tried to raise concerns about the way it had been operating.
The report said no-one had faced any form of sanction over her treatment.
Health spokesman and North West Euro-MP, Louise Bours said: “Whistle-blowing in the NHS can be a matter of life or death.
“The Accounts Committee report highlights the difference whistle-blowers have made over scandals such as Hillsborough and the Mid Staffordshire Hospital.
“But it shows that the government is still failing to protect those who try to let the public know what is really going on.
“Whistle-blowers should be treated like the heroes they are, not the traitor their incompetent bosses try to paint them as.
“Anyone committed to the public good as much as these people are deserve maximum and swift protection, and those trying to intimidate them, and hide the truth from the public should not be working in the public sector.”
The report called for whistle-blowers to be offered legal and counselling services and for “swift sanctions” to be imposed on staff who victimise them.
Ms Bours added: “The government are trying to talk tough on this issues, but their policies clearly aren’t working on the ground.
“Perhaps they don’t want too many people letting the public know how the NHS is failing because there is an approaching general election.”