- The phrase 'whistleblowing' is widely used and misused in everyday language to describe a whole range of actions around raising concerns. Whistleblowing is in reality, a very defined and very serious action.
Print this guidance as a briefing document using the PDF link at the foot of this page
- Whistleblowing refers to the act of making a disclosure of information that is in the public interest. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 provides the statutory framework for protecting individuals who make such disclosures, which are known as 'protected disclosures.'
- Not every concern that you may wish to raise about standards of care and/or health services meets the requirements of severity that would warrant a 'whistleblow'. Making a public interest disclosure is an extremely serious action and demonstrates that all other appropriate means of raising concerns have failed.
- Examples of serious organisational failings that were undetected until a whistleblower acted include:
- Bristol Paediatric Heart Surgery (1995): unexpectedly high mortality rates for babies undergoing heart surgery
- Winterbourne View (2011): carers convicted of abusing vulnerable adults in a private care facility
- Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (2012): up to 1400 unexpected deaths in a large NHS acute hospital
- Hill Croft Care Home, Lancashire (2013): 3 carers convicted of abusing residents with dementia.