NHS non-disclosure agreements to end, vows Matt Hancock

This article was taken from:Ā https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/22/nhs-end-non-disclosure-agreements-vows-matt-hancock

Health secretary says staff should not have to compromise their job for patient safety

The health secretary has vowed to end the use of non-disclosure agreements that prevent would-beĀ NHSĀ whistleblowers speaking out.

Matt HancockĀ said he wants more people to feel they can ā€œput their head above the parapetā€, and described settlement agreements that infringe on peopleā€™s rights to voice concerns as ā€œcompletely inappropriateā€.

ā€œWe stand with whistleblowers,ā€ Hancock said. ā€œMaking someone choose between the job they love and speaking the truth to keep patients safe is an injustice I am determined to end.

ā€œSettlement agreements that infringe on an individualā€™s right to speak out for the benefit of patients are completely inappropriate. Whistleblowers perform a vital and courageous service for the NHS and I want more people to feel they can put their head above the parapet.

ā€œBut they must have a safe, open culture to do this in order to achieve the ambitions set out in theĀ long-termĀ planĀ and make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.ā€

Hancockā€™s comments follow growing concern about the use of such agreements to silence staff across a range of sectors. It emerged last week thatĀ universities had spent nearly Ā£90mĀ on pay-offs with so-called gagging orders attached over the last two years.

In March the government announced toughened legal measures to prevent employers using confidentiality agreements to stop workers from reporting crimes, harassment or discrimination.

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