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Pilot scheme to help NHS whistleblowers back to work

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A nationwide pilot to help primary care whistleblowers back into work has been launched today, NHS England has announced.

The programme, which is targeted at primary care staff, forms part of a wider Whistleblowers Support Scheme that will eventually offer a range of services including career coaching, financial advice and mediation for staff who have “suffered as a result of raising concerns about NHS practice”.

“It is simply inexcusable that talented, experienced staff should be lost”

Malcolm Grant

The programme has been designed with the help of former staff who have also had experience of whistleblowing and the impact it can have on staff, said the national commissioning body.

As previously reported in June, the development of the pilot has also included the regulator NHS Improvement and input from trusts.

The announcement is part of NHS England’s work in response to Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up report into NHS whistleblowing, which was published in 2015.

The report highlighted that “some individuals who have raised concerns experience severe difficulties when seeking re-employment in the health service”.

Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, said: “It is simply inexcusable that talented, experienced staff should be lost to the NHS as the result of raising the legitimate concerns that help the health service improve.

“We have already implemented new measures in the wake of the Francis report and this scheme further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring openness and transparency are welcomed in the NHS,” he said.

Malcolm Grant

Malcolm Grant

Malcolm Grant

The firm Working Transitions, which describes itself as a “transition specialist”, has been appointed to run the pilot until March 2018.

Those taking part in the programme will be contacted by the firm which will arrange for them to have an occupational health assessment and meet a coach. It will then design a package of support that means their specific needs.

The pilot will be evaluated by Liverpool John Moores University to “help shape the scheme in future”, said NHS England.

Lynne Hardman, chief executive of Working Transitions, said: “Working Transitions is very proud to have been selected to support this important initiative.

“Over the last 25 years we have supported around 750,000 people, from widely diverse situations, to overcome barriers and move forward with their careers,” she said.

“We are looking forward to playing a key role in ensuring that all participants achieve success,” she added.

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