Blowing the whistle at work

Raising concerns about poor practice, as part of people’s day-to day work, should be the norm.

That’s the message in new guidance that’s been launched by the Department of Health, providing support for health and social care staff over whistleblowing.

There are a number of key recommendations to help make whistleblowing an important part of improving the quality of service and patient safety. Whistleblowing can be an opportunity to stop poor practice at an early stage before it becomes ‘normalised’, and it gives staff the freedom to raise concerns without fear.

“Staff in the health and social care sector should never be stopped from raising concerns about patient safety. Staff should be supported and protected when they raise concerns, as well as praised for their courage and thanked by management as a key part of the effort to build the safe, effective and compassionate culture that patients, service users, the public and the overwhelming majority of staff across health and social care expect.”

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health

The Whistleblowing Helpline is the national helpline that provides free information and advice on the whistleblowing process to staff, trade unions and employers within the NHS. You can contact them on 08000 724725.

Raising concerns at work – download the publication

Key messages in the guidance include:

  • a flowchart of the whistleblowing process, in line with the legislation
  • top tips for workers who wish to raise concerns, as well as advice and support
  • top tips for managers to respond positively when staff raise concerns
  • national standards for whistleblowing policies for employers

The Whistleblowing Helpline is provided by Mencap and commissioned by the Department of Health.

The Helpline can be reached by telephoning 08000 724725, emailing or visiting the website at

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