Health Minister Robin Swann today launched two separate public consultations on Whistleblowing and on Violence and Aggression in the workplace.

Both consultations will seek views on how we protect Health and Social Care staff and provide an environment in which they feel safe and confident to carry out their duties and to raise concerns if need be.

Minister Swann said:-“The capability for anyone to raise a concern with HSC bodies in the interests of the public is an intrinsic means of ensuring services continuously improve and that patient safety is assured.

“It is crucial that we create an environment for individuals, be they staff or service users, to raise concerns which fall under the public interest and feel confident that they are safe to come forward and report these using the appropriate channels.”

The Department engaged with HSC bodies and Trade Unions to develop a draft regional policy in relation to Raising a Concern in the Public Interest (Whistleblowing).

This work was undertaken in response to recommendations made as a result of a review of the operation of Whistleblowing arrangements within HSC organisations carried out by RQIA.

The Minister continued: “Work has now completed and it could not be more timely given the recent publication of the report from the Independent Neurology Inquiry.

“That report includes recommendations in relation to ensuring accountability within HSC organisations in relation to patient safety and improving services through a focus on identifying misconduct, poor practice and lessons learned, which this policy will play a part in addressing.”

Minister Swann also launched  a separate consultation on the draft policy framework regarding Violence and Aggression in the workplace.

He said: “Creating a safe environment for staff, and all those who use our services is also a major pillar in providing the best services possible.

“Staff spend their working days caring for others and saving lives and they have the right to feel safe from the threat of violence and aggression in the workplace.

I encourage Staff working for Trusts and across the health and social care system, as well as service users and patients, to fully engage with the consultation on this policy and express their views.”

 The consultations will open on 27 June 2022 and will close on 26 August 2022.