As individuals, regardless of where we work, we all expect to be treated fairly, with respect, and in an inclusive manner. In particular, if after witnessing bad practice, we brought this to our employer's attention, we would expect this to be valued and acted upon, as our intention would be to make our workplace a safer and better place.
This is no more important than in the health service in Scotland. We will all need the services of NHSScotland at some point in our lives, be it for ourselves, our relatives, or for someone we care about. As such, we put a great deal of trust in those delivering a huge variety of healthcare and support services. It follows therefore, that it is vital that staff in NHSScotland feel empowered to highlight any genuine concerns they have about patient safety or malpractice.
The NHS in Scotland continues to focus on providing safe, effective and person-centred care, and as such, it is essential that all staff are able to voice their concerns when they think something is wrong. Moreover, they should be confident in doing this and know that that they will be supported.
NHSScotland already has robust whistleblowing procedures in place, and we have continued in recent years to put in place additional supporting measures - such as the National Confidential Alert Line. However, I want to go further to help embed an honest and open reporting culture, where all staff have the confidence to speak up without fear, and with the knowledge that any genuine concern will be treated seriously and investigated appropriately and properly.
That is why, earlier this year, in response to the recommendations from the Freedom to Speak Up Review, I committed to establishing an Independent National Whistleblowing Officer. It is intended that this role will, where necessary, provide an independent and external level of review on the handling of whistleblowing cases, so that we may further improve our practices in the NHS in Scotland.
I also committed to a full public consultation with the aim of gathering as wide a range of views as possible on the Scottish Government's proposals for the establishment of this role.
I welcome your continued support and involvement in developing policies to ensure that all NHSScotland staff have a positive employee experience. All staff should feel motivated and engaged with their job, their team, and their organisation. This includes knowing that they work within a supportive organisation with an open, honest and proactive reporting culture.
We want to make sure that all staff can speak up and raise any concerns with confidence.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport
Email: Anna Gilbert