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Jeremy Hunt warns NHS trusts not to block whistleblowing

Jeremy Hunt warns NHS trusts not to block whistleblowing
18th February 2013

The health secretary has written to the head of every NHS trust warning them not to use legal challenges to prevent whistleblowing.

In order to avoid a repeat of the Mid-Staffordshire scandal, Jeremy Hunt urged bosses to eradicate the culture of "institutional self-defence that prevents honest acknowledgement of failure".

Mr Hunt stated it requires "courage and professional integrity" to speak out against colleagues and bosses who may be contributing to poor care and it is important to "recognise and celebrate staff" who do so.

The letter comes just days after the government announced it intends to make amendments to legislation to prevent whistleblowers being victimised or sacked for raising their concerns.

The health secretary also warned United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust it will face action if it attempts to take a former chief executive to court to stop him speaking out.

Gary Walker left his post in 2010 and has been threatened with legal action relating to his £500,000 payoff as a result of allegations he was forced out of the role because he prioritised the safety of patients ahead of targets set by Whitehall.

Mr Walker has called for an independent inquiry into the Department of Health and its involvement in this situation.

"The whole chain of command needs to be looked at if Mr Hunt wants to stand by the transparency agenda," he said.

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