Support for whistleblowers

Enhanced service for NHS Scotland staff.

Staff in Scotland’s health service will continue to benefit from external support should they have any concerns about patient safety or malpractice. 

From 1 August, the NHS Scotland Confidential Alert Line will be expanded to become the Whistleblowing Alert and Advice Services for NHS Scotland (AALS).

The service will offer support from legally trained advisers and will help callers consider their options if they are unsure about how or whether to whistleblow, as well as passing concerns raised by staff, with their consent, to the appropriate Health Board or scrutiny body for further investigation.

Health Secretary Shona Robson said:

“Whistleblowing Alert and Advice Services complement a range of policies to support a culture where speaking up in our NHS is encouraged and welcomed.

“Patient safety is paramount and I want to ensure this service continues to build confidence and trust, with an increased focus on resources and support for staff and managers.

“The service has been enhanced to include short films, toolkits and guidance to promote and encourage the kind of supportive environment we want to see, as well as awareness raising and engagement events for all staff, managers and trainees.”

Following a procurement exercise the contract has been awarded to the charity Public Concern at Work (PCaW). 

PCaW Chief Executive, Cathy James OBE said:

“We are delighted to retain our contract with NHS Scotland and continue offering whistleblowers advice and support. We know it isn’t easy speaking up about concerns, but we want to reassure healthcare workers our legally trained advisers are here to help.”


The current NCAL contract with Public Concern at Work ends on 31 July and will be replaced by the AALS service from 1 August. The new contract will run for one year with the possibility of a six month extension.

AALS is part of a wider range of whistleblowing measures including the forthcoming establishment of the new role of the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer for NHS Scotland (INWO).

PCaW are an independent whistleblowing charity whose expertise in policy and public education is recognised internationally. PCaW currently run the NHS Scotland Confidential Alert Line (NCAL) and have provided similar services for NHS England and other sectors and organisations.


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