The head of the British Medical Association has told HSJ he will push for a review of whistleblowing legislation.
Mark Porter, chair of the BMA’s council, said he would lobby the Department of Health alongside campaigners from Public Concern At Work and Patients First to ensure whistleblowers were adequately protected.
Speaking after the BMA last week hosted a conference on whistleblowing with the latter organisation, Dr Porter said there needed to be a review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act and a wider cultural change led by DH and NHS Commissioning Board leaders.
Dr Porter told HSJ: “We need to have a look at the law and we will, jointly with Public Concern at Work, lobby the Department of Health on this.
“Those are the technical details but there is a very clear perception that [the DH and commissioning board] need to find a way to change the victimisation of whistleblowers into their celebration.”
Kim Holt, the chair of Patients First, said the BMA was courageous for holding the event. “We heard numerous examples of how the Public Interest Disclosure Act doesn’t protect whistleblowers and by the time a case gets to court it becomes all about money and not resolving the problems,” she said, of the conference.
Cathy James, chief executive of Public Concern at Work, described the lack of safeguards in existing legislation to protect whistleblowers from workplace bullying by colleagues as a “definite loophole”.
“The more the perception is that the law does not protect people the more you push people into a culture of silence,” she said. “There needs to be some positive action on this.”