Recent headlines have been dominated by the subject of NHS whistleblowing as former employees come forward and complain about being disregarded, harassed, and forced into termination. This demonstrates the urgent need for change in the culture of the workplace, where managers either do not receive complaints or do so but do not take them seriously. The Christie Cancer Research NHS Trust in Manchester is the most recent NHS trust to lose the trust of its stakeholders and clients as reputational harm to the NHS continues to mount. It had both it’s ratings for leadership and safety dropped to ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission.
The way the nurse, Rebecca Wight, was treated demonstrates how management in the UK is unresponsive to complaints and requests for improvement from nurses. As workplace safety becomes more prevalent, it is important to ensure that the appropriate conditions are in place for whistleblowers to come forward. NHS whistleblowing has instead become synonymous with ignoring and shutting out employees who wish to complain. As a result, people have less faith in the NHS and are less likely to come forward with information about wrongdoing, which further undermines its credibility in the eyes of stakeholders.
NHS Whistleblowing: The Emotional Toll
Whistleblowers like Wight typically experience trauma, physical and mental exhaustion, which makes it difficult for them to carry on with their lives the way they once did. After being fired, they may experience financial loss and reputational harm, which can exacerbate their already existing mental and physical pain.
Maintaining good mental health at work and fostering a positive workplace culture both depend on community involvement and doing your part fully. Wight claims that the person she reported about poor care of patients put them in a life-or-death situation, and when she attempted to help, she was met with a backlash and pressure that ultimately led her to resign.
How to Whistleblow in the NHS
The NHS do not currently allow anonymous whistleblowing. Employees can contact their ‘Speakup’ guardian but it won’t be anonymous.
The lengthy whistleblowing process in Wight’s case can be stressful on the body and the mind. Anxiety and other disorders may later result from this. Despite the fact that this did not stop Wight from reporting the issue and following it up nearly a hundred times, it did make her feel worn out, both personally and professionally. Too many nurses have been affected by NHS whistleblowing, and they now need to seek out therapists and find ways to cope.
If You Have Been Through A Similar Ordeal, Here Are Some Steps To Help You Reduce Mental And Physical Stress:
- Staying active has proven to have a positive effect on both physical and mental health.
- Speak about what bothers you to people close to you or therapists. Speaking about how you feel helps you maintain your health.
- Having a balanced diet and eating well.
Importance Of NHS Whistleblowing.
A culture of accountability and transparency may increase people’s trust in the NHS and encourage them to interact with it more frequently because the NHS is crucial to our daily lives. Whistleblowing was crucial in the Wight case because patients’ lives were in danger. She reported that one patient had already died from negligence. While whistleblowing is crucial when dealing with such instances of subpar care, it becomes increasingly obvious that a different or superior system must be implemented in order to restore public confidence in the NHS.
Aranea for Better NHS Whistleblowing.
Due to the setup being third-party-run software, Aranea is essential to NHS whistleblowing because it enables the stakeholders to have more faith in the system. Because they can maintain their anonymity, this independent system enables whistleblowers like Wight to receive their answers and pursue their cases without worrying about retaliation. By enabling a clearer line of communication between managers and employees and by allowing Aranea to alert the appropriate authorities in serious cases where no action is taken, it helps organisations become more accountable.