Labour pledge to help whistleblowers and fight bullying

An Exclusive in the Sunday People reports that Labour will create a new independent NHS body to protect health workers if it wins the General Election.

Known as NHS staff champions, they will be the first port of call for whistleblowers who believe patient safety is at risk.

They will also deal with allegations of bullying or intimidation by hospital managers and senior doctors.

The move by shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham comes as new figures show two in five nurses are suffering from stress.

An NHS survey revealed that 41% of hospital nurses and midwives are overwhelmed by their workload – a 27% increase since 2010.

And half said the ward they work on is now dangerously understaffed.

NHS champions will help to cut work-related stress and tackle aggressive behaviour by the public, which affects a third of NHS workers.

StressAnd the police will get powers to issue on-the-spot fines for physical or verbal abuse of NHS staff.

Mr Burnham told the Sunday People “I’m going to have a big job rebuilding the morale of a shattered worforce. They’ve been ground down over the last five years.

“They feel under the cosh, demoralised and exhausted.”

Mr Burnham added that he will recruit 20,000 more nurses to ease the pressure, paid for by a Mansion Tax on homes worth more than £2million.

Although the champions will work within the NHS they will have the same independence as the Chief Medical Officer.

WORN-OUT nurses took 4.8 million sick days last year, new Department of Health figures show.

Nearly 23,000 nurses and health visitors quit the NHS last year – 4,000 more than four years ago.

The Royal College of Nursing said morale is at rock bottom with increasing numbers of nurses going off sick with stress.

Labour’s Andrew Gwynne said: “These figures are appalling and reflect the reality of what is happening under David Cameron.”

Nelson. N 2015 Political Editor – Sunday People 22nd March 2015 P. 2

“We can only hope the NHS will be intact and serving us and its staff far better after the next Government’s tenure”

It’s not just the NHS that bully “Whistleblowers”

Whistleblowers who flagged up a lack of action by council bosses were bullied, harassed and driven out of their jobs, a report reveals.

Instead of acting on the confidential information given to them to help protect children at risk of abuse, the bosses turned on the informants.

Inspectors found that Rotherham council went to ‘some lengths’ to cover up information handed to it. In three cases, people who blew the whistle felt they had been marginalised by bosses, bullied, harassed and victimised as a result.

You can't say thatSimilarly, a youth service, whose job it was to highlight the horrendous level of child sex abuse in the community, was closed down.

In two cases, whistleblowers claimed they were deliberately ‘restructured’ out. In a third case, they felt they had been marginalised and were forced to leave their job.

One said:”I stepped forward on behalf of young people. I am am proud to have done so despite the cost to my health and financial situation. The machine at Rotherham Council doesn’t care, won’t listen and simply exists to cover up and destroy.”

Another staff member said: “We’ve all been made aware of the (whistleblowing) procedure, but no one ever dares use it, because if they did, eventually it would come back to bite them in the backside and they would be bullied out of the organisation.”

In the report Louise Casey said: “It has created an unhealthy climate where people fear to speak out because they have seen the consequences of doing so for others.

‘Staff have spoken to inspectors of being afraid to speak out, told to keep quiet, instructed to cover up, and of a culture where “if you want to keep your job, you keep your mouth shut.”

‘Inspectors received evidence to show that the council did not always do the right thing. Sometimes this was because officers were worried about the impact on the council’s reputation.’

‘The youth centre, Ricky Business, which worked directly with victims of child sex abuse, flagged up ‘uncomfortable truths’ and was shut down.

Mrs Casey said: “Child abuse and exploitation happens all over the country, but Rotherham is different in that it was repeatedly told by its own youth service what was happening and it chose, not only not to act, but to close that service down.”

She added: “This is important because it points to how it has dealt with uncomfortable truths put before it.”

Daily Mail. Thursday Feb 5th. 2015 p. 14

“And just how do we address these ‘uncomfortable truths’ in our authorities and institutions when they act and seem untouchable?”