Protecting whistleblowers seeking jobs in the NHS

Closed 9 May 2017

Opened 20 Mar 2017

Overview

Employment Rights Act 1996 (NHS Recruitment - Protected Disclosure) Regulations

The Freedom to Speak Up Review concluded (in Feburary 2015) that ‘individuals are suffering, or at risk of suffering, serious detriments in seeking re-employment in the health service after making a protected disclosure’. The Review received evidence that blacklisting of whistleblowers is taking place in the NHS.

Currently a worker who feels they have suffered detriment or been unfairly dismissed, as a result of making a protected disclosure, can take their case to an Employment Tribunal. If the Employment Tribunal finds in their favour, they can be awarded compensation and, in the case of employees, an order for reinstatement or re-engagement may be made. However, these provisions do not provide protection to an applicant being discriminated against by a potential employer during a recruitment exercise because the employer believes they have previously made a protected disclosure.

Section 49B of the Small, Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Annex A) aims to address such discrimination and provides the Secretary of State with a power, through regulations, to prohibit certain NHS public bodies from discriminating against an applicant because it appears to the NHS employer that the applicant has previously made a protected disclosure.

See full consultation document below.

 

Why We Are Consulting

The intention is to give protection from discrimination to an NHS applicant who has previously made, or appears to have made, a protected disclosure under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Section 49B of the Small, Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Annex A) aims to address such discrimination and provides the Secretary of State with a power, through regulations, to prohibit certain NHS employers from discriminating against an applicant because it appears to the NHS employer that the applicant has previously made a protected disclosure.

The overarching intent of the draft regulations is to make clear that discrimination against whistleblowers seeking jobs or posts with certain NHS employers is prohibited; that the individual applicants have a legal recourse should they feel they have been discriminated against, with appropriate remedies should their complaint be upheld; and to help embed in NHS bodies a culture that supports workers to raise concerns and welcomes new workers who have done so in the past.

We are consulting on the regulations to seek views as to whether they deliver on the policy as intended.

 

Audiences

  • GPs
  • Nurses
  • Health visitors
  • Clinicians
  • Managers
  • Doctors
  • Midwives
  • Foundation Trusts
  • NHS Commissioning Board
  • Tribunal Service
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • NHS quality improvement leads
  • clinical staff
  • patient groups and patient advocates
  • Members of the public
  • individuals and families with experience of clinical investigations

Interests

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