The NHS has set up a scheme to help whistleblowers back into employment. But it has been criticised, prior to launch, as nothing more than a ‘PR vehicle’. The nationwide pilot scheme, with a £100,000 budget, will offer career coaching, financial advice and mediation to staff who have suffered as a result of raising concerns.

Sir Malcolm Grant, chairman 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.”

Julie Bailey founded the group ‘Cure the NHS’ to expose the Mid Staffordshire scandal, where frail elderly patients were left without food and water after bosses became obsessed with cutting costs. She said, “most whistleblowers need more than guidance and advice on how to return to work, which is what the proposed NHS England whistleblowing scheme offers them. Ideally they need a real employment scheme that is adequately funded, one that acknowledges that harm has been caused to a person that was doing the right thing”.

She went on to say, “the scheme needs to be one that ensures that a person is given a comparable position to one that they had to leave. Furthermore, they may need support to return to work and a guarantee they are safe to return.”