The case of the disappearing whistleblower: an analysis of National Health Service inquiries

Powell, Martin, Blenkinsopp, John, Davies, Huw, Mannion, Russell, Millar, Ross, McHale, Jean and Snowden, Nicholas (2022) The case of the disappearing whistleblower: an analysis of National Health Service inquiries. Public Money & Management, 42 (2). pp. 59-69. ISSN 0954-0962

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It has been recognized that whistleblowing is important to detect failings in many sectors within many nations. Many serious failings in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) are brought to light by the action of whistleblowers. However, analysis of the reports of public inquiries reveal how little the inquiries examined the role of the whistleblower and how rarely they made any recommendations concerning NHS whistleblowing. The authors examine the case of the disappearing whistleblower, and suggest reasons for the limited focus on them.

Despite the recognition that ‘speaking up’ or ‘whistleblowing’ can make a major contribution to the quality and safety of health services, many inquiries into poor care did not appear to blow the whistle loudly enough and governments failed to listen and act appropriately when they did. Policy-makers and practitioners need to consider the importance of whistleblowing; if existing policies are working, or new ones need to be introduced, and—if so—whether they should be based on cultural or legal remedies. In particular, as many international organizations and nations have focused on whistleblowing in recent years, policy-makers in the UK should review whether legislation is required to update or replace its existing whistleblowing law.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health services, implementation, inquiries, post-inquiry learning, National Health Service, UK, whistleblowing
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N200 Management studies
N300 Finance
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 10:36
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 08:00

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