Comment: End medical wrongdoing by removing whistle-blowing obstacles
In response to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock’s vow to ban Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Fletchers Solicitor’s Junior Litigation Executive, Darya Amin is hopeful a change in legislation will empower individuals to come forward and shine a light on medical wrongdoing.
“Recent headlines have featured the Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowing to ban NHS Non-Disclosure orders that stop staff from whistle blowing.
“Currently, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are used in a range of employment disputes to compel those who agree to maintain the confidence of specific information they become privy to.
“The agreements usually entered into for business security, have raised concerns that they could be used to silence staff who raise fears over patient safety, as well as workplace issues relating to bullying and harassment.
“In a move to eliminate possible abuse of NDAs in this context, the Cabinet Minister expressed his solidarity with whistle-blowers in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
“He proclaimed that, “Whistleblowers perform a vital and courageous service for the NHS and I want more people to feel they can put their head above the parapet.”
“However, to do so, he has further stated that “they must have a safe, open culture to do this in order to achieve the ambitions set out in the Long-Term Plan and make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.”
“This move will see legislation being amended to enable workers who sign the NDAs to report crimes, harassment or discrimination to the police and further provide businesses (including the NHS) to give clear written description of such rights before making employees sign up to a NDA.
“The removal of shackles imposed on employees by their employers, in order to report wrongdoing, will hopefully empower individuals to act without the fear of repercussions. This move will enable individuals to deliver justice where they previously were not able to as a result of the gag orders.”