National whistleblowing officer to promote 'culture of speaking up' in NHS

A dedicated National Whistleblowing Officer for the NHS in Scotland has taken office.

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock

Rosemary Agnew, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, took on the role on Thursday, as new national whistleblowing standards also went live.

Ms Agnew’s role will be to act as a final, independent review stage in the whistleblowing process, after concerns have been raised at a local level.

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The aim of her appointment is to promote a “culture of speaking up” in the NHS

Ms Agnew said staff who raise concerns must be listened to.

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“The NHS in Scotland relies on staff, students and volunteers to deliver a wide range of services,” she said.

"They are essential to the delivery of safe care and treatment and good governance. They are also best placed to spot errors, wrong-doing or processes that put patients at unnecessary risk.

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"We need to listen to them, but in order to do that we must give each and every one of them the space, opportunity and confidence to speak up.”

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She added: “We want NHS staff to feel they can raise issues, safe in the knowledge they will be listened to and their concerns acted on promptly and confidentially.

"We also want to ensure that NHS organisations value the raising of concerns as a source of learning for continuous improvement. This is what the National Whistleblowing Standards and the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer service set out to achieve.”

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The Independent National Whistleblowing Officer offers a free telephone advice line to provide information and signposting for those wanting to raise whistleblowing concerns. This service is open to all NHS providers, staff and members of the public via Freephone 0800 008 6112.

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