Legislation on whistleblowers will be fast-tracked in response to a major report into how thousands of NHS staff have been been bullied by colleagues after raising concerns about patient care, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.
The review, lead by Sir Robert Francis QC, found some NHS staff were driven to the brink of suicide after voicing their concerns.
ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:
A former nurse who helped lead the fight against shocking failings at Stafford Hospital told ITV News she "wasn't surprised" by the findings of a report into the treatment of NHS whistleblowers.
Helene Donnelly was a key witness in the Mid Staffordshire public inquiry and has recently been appointed as Ambassador for Cultural Change at the local NHS Trust.
Donnelly said: "It stands to reason that if I've experienced it in my Trust and I know of others who have as well, that there are going to be others who have suffered in the same way.
"All members of staff working in the NHS and social care have a duty to speak out if they see things that are not right, and we must create a culture where they can do that and feel safe."
Jeremy Hunt has announced his response to a report into the treatment of NHS whistleblowers.
You can re-watch the Health Secretary's statement here:
The chairman of a review into the treatment of NHS whistleblowers said a "serious problem" needs to be addressed - the climate of fear.Read the full story ›
A doctor who exposed safety concerns at a hospital has said NHS whistleblowers were being persecuted "on a grand scale".
Cardiologist Raj Mattu publicly exposed overcrowding and fears for patient safety at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry in 2001, claiming there might have been avoidable deaths as a result.
Dr Mattu told BBC Breakfast he "couldn't possibly recommend" other NHS staff voicing safety concerns because of the lack of "sufficient protections".
"It's frustrating and depressing to hear that whilst there is often and periodically noises made about ... protecting whistleblowers, the reality is there are very few palpable, material changes that take place," he said.
"Today even, the culture is very unsafe. There is still ongoing persecution of whistleblowers on a grand scale."
The chairman of a review into the treatment of NHS whistleblowers said he had heard "shocking stories" about staff too afraid to speak out and who felt suicidal after their concerns were ignored.
Sir Robert Francis QC said he heard "time and time again" from NHS staff who were "bullied" after raising concerns about poor patient care.
Sir Robert told the BBC before the review's publication, "I've heard some frankly shocking stories about [staff] whose health has suffered, and in rare cases who've felt suicidal as a result of their perception of them being ignored or worse."
The 111 NHS service in the West Midlands has received its one millionth call.
It offers medical help in a non-emergency situation and has seen a 50% increase in callers over the Christmas period compared with the year before.
More than 280 staff at hospitals in Nottingham have been assaulted by patients in the last 12 months.
Many of the instances were attacks by people with dementia or mental health problems.
But police and hospital managers say they will prosecute anyone who attacks NHS staff willingly and without conditions that may lead to aggression.
The Health Secretary will say a culture change is needed within the NHS to stop £2.5 billion being paid out to cover mistakes.Read the full story ›