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Found 60 results
  1. News Article
    What does whistleblowing in a pandemic look like? Do employers take concerns more seriously – as we would all hope? Does the victimisation of whistleblowers still happen? Does a pandemic compel more people to speak up? We wanted to know, so Protect analysed the data from all the Covid-19 related calls to theirr Advice Line. They found: * 41% of whistleblowers had Covid-19 concerns ignored by employers * 20% of whistleblowers were dismissed * Managers more likely to be dismissed (32% ) than non-managers (21%) They found that too many whistleblowers feel ignored and isolated once they raise their concerns and that these failing are a systematic problem. Protect, which runs an Advice Line for whistleblowers, and supports more than 3,000 whistleblowers each year, has been inundated with Covid-19 whistleblowing concerns, many of an extremely serious nature. Its report, The Best Warning System: Whistleblowing During Covid-19 examines over 600 Covid-19 calls to its Advice Line between March and September. The majority of cases were over furlough fraud and risk to public safety, such as a lack of social distancing and PPE in the workplace.
  2. News Article
    Leaking vials and suspected contamination were identified in a batch of more than 500,000 test tubes produced for the NHS Covid test and trace operation over the summer, whistleblowers have said. The test tubes were provided by a small UK-based company, Life Science Group (LSG), which produces materials for the diagnostics industry. According to the whistleblowers, there have been repeated problems with test tubes filled by LSG leaking. Stocks of some 600,000 test tubes were inspected in August as a result, and records seen by the Guardian describe the discovery of what looked like hair and blood contamination. It is understood firms in the supply chain concluded that the contamination was not hair or blood, following inspections. However, records seen by the Guardian suggested at least one bag of LSG test tubes thought to be contaminated “cannot now be found”. The whistleblowers said that rather than rejecting the entire potentially compromised batch, as would be normal safety protocol with NHS supplies, only part of the batch with visible problems was removed from use. They said they had blown the whistle because they were concerned for public safety. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 October 2020
  3. News Article
    An NHS trust has offered an unreserved apology to an elderly patient and his family after they accused hospital staff of restraining him 19 times in order to forcibly administer treatment. East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust admitted that care for the man, who has dementia, “fell far short” of what patients should expect. The 77-year-old had been admitted to the William Harvey Hospital last November for urinary retention problems, according to a recent BBC investigation. In February, The Independent revealed that a police investigation had been launched into an alleged assault against an elderly man at the hospital after nurses and carers were filmed by hospital security staff holding the man’s arms, legs and face down while they inserted a catheter. A whistleblower told The Independent that the incident was being covered up by the trust and staff were told: “Don’t discuss it, don’t refer to it at all.” On Wednesday, the trust said its investigation had found a failure to alert senior medics to the difficulties being experienced in caring for the patient. Changes to dementia care including ward reorganisation, training and recruitment are underway, said a spokesperson, who added: “We apologise unreservedly to the patient and his family for the failings in his care, this fell far short of what patients should expect.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 14 October 2020
  4. News Article
    Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled in favour of a nurse who was disciplined after she complained on Facebook about the care her grandfather had received in a long-term care facility. In a decision delivered Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal set aside a decision by the province's Registered Nurses Association that found Carolyn Strom guilty of unprofessional conduct. Strom was off-duty when she aired her concerns on Facebook in 2015, a few weeks after her grandfather's death. In her Facebook post, she said staff at St. Joseph's Integrated Health Centre in the town of Macklin, about 225 kilometres west of Saskatoon, needed to do a better job of looking after elderly patients. The lawyer for the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association argued that Strom personally attacked an identifiable group without attempting to get all the facts about her grandfather's care. In 2016, she was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $25,000 to cover the cost of the tribunal. After the association's decision, she received support from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, as well as nurses and civil liberties groups across the country. "Once I understood what this case meant ... once it was past being just about me, I didn't want someone else to have to go through the same thing. Because it's been rough," Strom said. Strom says she continued to fight the decision because she wanted nurses to be able to talk about, and advocate for, better care for family members publicly and in a respectful manner. "You should be able to properly advocate for family members, regardless of whether you're a health-care member." "And I felt that if this decision went wrong, it would actually hurt people who have healthcare members as family members. because they would have to be a little more careful and not express concerns for fear of punishment." Appeal court Justice Brian Barrington-Foote wrote in his decision that Strom's freedom of expression was unjustifiably infringed, and she had a right to criticise the care her grandfather received. The judge ruled that criticism of the healthcare system is in the public interest, and when it comes from front-line workers it can bring positive change. Read full story Source: CBC News, 6 October 2020 .
  5. Community Post
    It's #SpeakUpMonth in the #NHS so why isn't the National Guardian Office using the word whistleblowing? After all it was the Francis Review into whistleblowing that led to the recommendation for Speak Up Guardians. I believe that if we don't talk about it openly and use the word 'WHISTLEBLOWING' we will be unable to learn and change. Whistleblowing isn’t a problem to be solved or managed, it’s an opportunity to learn and improve. So many genuine healthcare whistleblowers seem to be excluded from contributing to the debate, and yes not all those who claim to be whistleblowers are genuine. The more we move away for labelling and stereotyping, and look at what's happening from all angles, the more we will learn. Regardless of our position, role or perceived status, we all need to address this much more openly and explicitly, in a spirit of truth and with a genuine desire to learn and change.
  6. News Article
    Too many English hospitals risk repeating maternity scandals involving avoidable baby deaths and brain injury because staff are too frightened to raise concerns, the chief inspector of hospitals has warned. Speaking at the opening session of an inquiry into the safety of maternity units by the health select committee, Prof Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, said: “There are too many cases when tragedy strikes because services are not not doing their job well enough.” Baker admitted that 38% of such services were deemed to require improvement for patient safety and some could get even worse. “There is a significant number of services that are not achieving the level of safety they should,” he said. He said many NHS maternity units were in danger of repeating fatal mistakes made at what became the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust (UHMBT), despite a high profile 2015 report finding that a “lethal mix” of failings at almost every level led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies. “Five years on from Morecombe Bay we have still not learned all the lessons,” Baker said. “[The] Morecombe Bay [report] did talk about about dysfunctional teams and midwives and obstetricians not working effectively together, and poor investigations without learning taking place. And I think those elements are what we are still finding in other services.” Baker urged hospital managers to encourage staff to whistleblow about problems without fear of recrimination. He said: “The reason why people are frightened to raise concerns is because of the culture in the units in which they work. A healthy culture would mean that people routinely raise concerns. But raising concerns is regarded as being a difficult member of the team.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 September 2020
  7. News Article
    Detainees held in an immigration centre in the US have been subjected to potentially unnecessary hysterectomies performed without informed consent, a nurse whistleblower has alleged. Dawn Wooten, who filed a whistleblower complaint with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, says she was demoted and her hours slashed after she complained about substandard medical care, questionable surgeries on women, and failure to protect detainees and staff from COVID-19. A report of the charges1 was filed by four non-profit rights and welfare groups on behalf of the detained immigrants at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, which is operated by the private prison company, LaSalle Corrections. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 16 September 2020
  8. News Article
    A nurse in the US sued Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred Healthcare this week, alleging the organisation fired him in retaliation for raising patient safety concerns. Sean Kinnie worked as an intensive care unit nurse at Kindred Hospital-San Antonio. Mr Kinnie claims he was suspended twice and then fired after leaders at the 59-bed transitional care hospital learned he anonymously reported patient safety concerns to The Joint Commission in November 2019 and January. Mr Kinnie said issues related to inadequate staffing and unsanitary care environments put patients in "grave danger," according to the lawsuit. He also said the hospital created a culture in which employees were afraid to stand up for patients for fear of retaliation from management. In January, Mr Kinnie told the hospital's chief clinical officer Sharon Danieliewicz that he was the staff member who reported the patient safety concerns to The Joint Commission. Mr. Kinnie claims he faced increased scrutiny after this disclosure and was ultimately fired Feb. 24 for violating facility policy. Read full story Source: Becker's Hospital Review, 24 August 2020
  9. News Article
    Lawyers acting for whistleblowers have told MPs and peers that they can feel intimidated to raise concerns over non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) because of the threat of retaliation. Whistleblowers themselves have also accused employers’ law firms of using underhand tactics in employment tribunal cases, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Whistleblowing said it would move on to look in more detail at the role of lawyers. The findings came in the group’s first report – focusing on ‘the voice of the whistleblower’ – which found that, although the UK “remains a leading authority on whistleblowing legislation”, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) needed “a radical overhaul”. Read the full article here.
  10. Content Article
    This edited collection can be seen to facilitate global learning. This book will, hopefully, form a bridge for those countries seeking to enhance their patient safety policies. Contributors to this book challenge many supposed generalisations about human societies, including consideration of how medical care is mediated within those societies and how patient safety is assured or compromised. By introducing major theories from the developing world in the book, readers are encouraged to reflect on their impact on the patient safety and the health quality debate. The development of practical patient safety policies for wider use is also encouraged. The volume presents a ground-breaking perspective by exploring fundamental issues relating to patient safety through different academic disciplines. It develops the possibility of a new patient safety and health quality synthesis and discourse relevant to all concerned with patient safety and health quality in a global context.
  11. Content Article
    The index has risen nationally from 75.5% in 2015 to 78.7% cent in 2019.Fostering a positive speaking up culture sits firmly with the leadership and organisations with higher FTSU Index scores tend to be rated as Outstanding or Good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).All organisations should use the FTSU Index to help identify areas where workers feel less supported to speak up and to focus on ways to improve. This is especially important for those organisations which feature lower down the FTSU Index. It is good practice for all organisations to look at the results of their staff surveys to understand the reality of how workers feel about speaking up.For organisations which appear lower down on the FTSU Index, it encourages them to identify higher scoring or most improved Trusts in your region, and find out what you can learn from how they are embedding Freedom to Speak Up in their organisations.
  12. Content Article
    Findings: Almost two-thirds of respondents continued to report they – or someone in their organisation's Freedom to Speak Up network – had been asked to take on other duties to support efforts to respond to the pandemic. Workers continued to be encouraged to speak up. 93%)of respondents to this survey believe workers were being encouraged to speak up – up from 72% in April. When asked about the types of issues workers were speaking up, the biggest percentage of respondents (79%) selected worker safety and wellbeing. This included matters such as PPE, social distancing and risk assessments. There was a large increase in the percentage of respondents reporting that workers were speaking up about the impact of COVID-19 on BAME workers. There has also been a sharp increase in respondents indicating workers were speaking up about behavioural issues, such as bullying and harassment.
  13. News Article
    Over 90 civil society groups and individual signatories are calling on all public authorities and private sector organisations to protect those who expose harms, abuses and serious wrongdoing during the COVID-19 crisis. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency, worrying reports concerning hospitals and public authorities retaliating against healthcare professionals for speaking out about the realities of COVID-19 have emerged worldwide, from China to the United States. Transparency International urges decision-makers at the highest level to resist the temptation to control the flow of information and instead offer assurances to individuals who witness corruption and wrongdoing to blow the whistle. Marie Terracol, Whistleblowing Programme Coordinator at Transparency International said: “The need for transparency and integrity, heightened in this time of crisis where abuses can cost lives, illustrates the essential role of those who speak up in the public interest." “National governments, public institutions and companies should listen to workers and citizens who come forward and report abuses they witness and protect them from retaliation, including in countries which still do not offer robust legal whistleblower protection. If people feel they can safely make a difference by speaking up, more instances of abuses will be prevented and addressed, and lives might be saved.” Read full story Source: Transparency International. 22 April 2020
  14. News Article
    Doctors have warned that a “culture of fear” in the NHS may prevent life-saving lessons being learned about COVID-19 after a leading hospital consultant emailed scores of staff saying those responsible for “leaks” would be found and fired. Dr Daniel Martin OBE, head of intensive care for serious infectious diseases at the Royal Free hospital, emailed a report to colleagues at the peak of the pandemic with a note claiming that the trust would “track any leaks to the media” and then “offer you the chance to post your P45 on Facebook for all to see.” The email, which described journalists at one respected newspaper as “parasites”, was sent to dozens of nurses and junior doctors. It has been examined by Liberty Investigates, the investigative journalism unit of the civil rights group Liberty, and the Guardian, after being shared by a recipient who said they found the language “intimidating”. Whistleblowers UK, the non-profit group, said it had been made aware of the email by a separate individual who was also concerned about its contents. The Royal Free London trust said the email was “badly worded” and did not reflect trust policy. However, the trust said it was an open and transparent organisation that “does everything it can to encourage our staff to raise concerns and, if necessary, whistleblow”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 June 2020
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