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Glasgow NHS whistleblowing review highlights 'concerning' impact on staff

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NHS whistleblowers have required counselling and medication and a quarter would not raise concerns again due to the stress and lack of support, a report found.

A review of existing policy at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde found “concerning” evidence of  a significant impact on the mental health of both whistleblowers and managers with little support provided.

It found  there was “no clear documented process” to highlight serious, urgent issues to the appropriate manager.

Healthworkers’ union Unison said staff were often labelled ‘trouble-makers’ with senior managers "defensive from the outset".

Sixty percent of staff reported that their mental health was negatively impacted by whistleblowing with some requiring counselling or medication to cope with the stress of disclosures.

The report said it was of concern that a quarter of staff stated that they would not raise concerns such as unsafe clinical practices again given their experiences, a figure which it said was likely to be higher as this information was only recorded if it was volunteered by staff.

Unison’s Regional Organiser Matt McLaughlin said, “Unison welcomes this paper and the Boards commitment to follow the updates national guidance. 

“However it will take more than a new policy for whistleblowers to feel valued within NHS GGC. The organisation is too defensive and staff who whistleblow often do so out of shear frustration that legitimate concerns are ignored – or worse, where the whistleblower is seen as a trouble maker. "

"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde needs to embrace and welcome staff speaking out; rather than being defensive from the outset."

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Source: The Herald, 28 April 2021

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