The Department of Health has this week issued a consultation document on its plans to give whistleblowers in the NHS greater protection against bullying and future discrimination in the job market.

Previously in this blog we have commented that, despite the recommendations of the Freedom To Speak Up review in 2015, many NHS staff still fear recrimination if they raise concerns about the quality of the service.

The new DOH plans aim to resolve some of these issues where a former whistleblower in the NHS feels that they have been discriminated against when applying for another job within the service.

The proposals aim to:

• Give the applicant the right to complain to an employment tribunal if they have been discriminated against
• Set out a timeframe in which a complaint must be lodged
• Set out the remedies which the tribunal may or must award if the complaint is upheld
• Make provision to the amount of compensation that can be awarded
• Give the applicant a right to bring the claim in county court or high court
• Treat discrimination of an applicant by a worker or agent (of the NHS) as if it was discrimination by the NHS body itself.

Although, according to The Times, Professor Jane Dacre, of the Royal College of Physicians has responded positively to the proposals, the whistleblowers’ group Patient First is reported as criticising that the proposals “say nothing about ensuring one of the whistleblower’s best protections: investigations that are prompt, transparent and credibly independent.”

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