Whistleblowing – informing others about your concerns over another member of staff

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Practice Leads

  • Doctors: Sudhir Krishnan
  • Nurses: Zoe Booth
  • Admin: Chris Rushton

Date Reviewed

6th August 2016

Date of Next Review

September 2017

Statement of Intent

This policy was developed in response to the Public Interest Disclosure Act, 1998 and Health Service Circular 1998/1999.

The aim of this policy is to make clear all members of the Ashcroft team have a responsibility to raise suspicions of concerns, wrongdoing or possible malpractice reasonably and responsibly in the public interest.  Any concerns raised will be processed in a confidential manner and there will be no repercussions to your employment if you raise concerns.

Introduction

All of us at some time or another may have concerns about what is happening at work.

All staff in the practice share responsibility for being alert to the behaviour of their employer, other employees, co-workers or colleagues. Individually, staff members must be aware that anything they notice at work that appears to be unusual practice or behaviour, or causes them to feel uncomfortable or to question, may have a wider consequence.

Things to look out for...

  • A person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation(s) to which s/he is subject.
  • Possible financial malpractice has, is or is likely to take place.
  • There is a risk or danger to the public.
  • A criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed.
  • There is a risk or danger to the environment.
  • The health and safety of any individual whilst at work (including mental and/or physical issues) has been, is being or is likely to be endangered in any way.
  • The public perception of the integrity of the NHS or the Practice has been, is or is likely to be undermined in any way.

What to do

It can be difficult to know what to do. You will need to know how to raise your concern.

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 or the Practice.  You may decide to say something but find that you have spoken to the wrong person or raised the issue in the wrong way and are not sure what to do next.

The practice has introduced this procedure to enable you to raise your concerns about such possible malpractice at an early stage and in the right way.  We would rather you raised the matter when it is just a concern rather than wait for proof.

We would also encourage you to raise concerns about issues that may appear on the surface to be small or minor matters; the same concern may have been troubling a number of other people.  If these individual concerns are taken together, they may indicate the existence of a wider issue of concern that can then be address appropriately.

Remember, an isolated incident or concern may appear on the surface to be inconsequential or unimportant but, taken with other information, it may be a critical part of a wider problem that needs to be tackled.

The practice wants to have clear procedures for staff to follow when raising concerns about health service and/or health care issues.

If something is troubling you which you think we should know about or look into, please use this procedure. If, however, you are aggrieved about your personal position, please use the Grievance 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!

The Practice's Assurance to Employees

Your Safety

There is a strong expectation that all staff will raise issues of concern.  Every employee has a duty to ensure that conduct of the highest standard such that public confidence in the integrity of the NHS is maintained at all times.

The practice is committed to this policy.  If you raise a genuine concern under this policy, you will not be at risk of losing your job or suffering any form of retribution as a result.  Provided you are acting in good faith, it does not matter if you are mistaken.  Of course we do not extend this assurance to someone who maliciously raises a matter they know is untrue.

In circumstances where an employee raises with malicious intent issues which are frivolous, vexatious or unreasonable, the Authority may evoke the Disciplinary Policy.

Your Confidence

We will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone raising a genuine concern.

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 will discuss with you whether and how we can proceed.

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.

How to raise a concern internally

If you have issues of concern:

  • Try and keep a note of any relevant details, such as what was said in telephone or other conversations, the date, the time and the names of any parties involved.
  • Please come forward with any concerns at an early stage if you feel your concerns are warranted and before problems have a chance to become more serious.
  • Convey your suspicions to someone with the appropriate authority and experience by following the steps in the order listed below:

Step 1

If you have a concern about possible malpractice, we hope you will feel able to raise it first with your Team Manager.  Doctors: Sudhir Krishnan, Nurses: Zoe Booth, Admin: Pam Brown. This may be done orally or in writing.

Step 2

If you feel unable to raise the matter with your Team Manager, for whatever reason, please raise the matter with:

Name:   Chris Rushton Practice Manager

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

Step 3

If you feel that you are unable to raise the matter with the Practice Manager in the practice, please raise the matter with a Partner.

Step 4

If these steps 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:

The NHS and Social Care Whistleblowing Helpline

Tel  08000 724 725 or enquiries@wbhelpline.org.uk

Step 5

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 contact the above.

If appropriate, you may raise the matter with the Secretary of State for Health although you will normally have followed the practice’s internal procedure (steps 1 to 4 above) before considering this approach.

How we will handle the matter

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 it, we will write to you summarising your concern and setting out how we propose to handle the matter.

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.

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.

If anyone tries to discourage you from coming forward to express a concern, we will treat this as a potential disciplinary offence.  In the same way, we will deal severely with anyone who criticises or victimises you after a concern has been expressed.

If you are dissatisfied

If you are unhappy with the practices’ 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.

 

The practice is committed to this procedure.