NHS whistleblowing changes announced

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Changes to the NHS' handling of complaints and avoidable deaths have been announced following the second Francis report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Other reviews into the hospital looked at how care was provided at the trust following failings and at recruitment and training problems.

The changes will provide protection for whistleblowers including new "freedom to speak up guardians" who will report directly to the chief executives of NHS trusts.

A consultation has been launched on establishing a national whistleblowing guardian within the Care Quality Commission.

New legislation will be introduced to parliament to protect whistleblowing staff from being shut out of jobs within the NHS.

The plans were outlined by the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who also announced a consultation on financial sanctions for trusts which withhold knowledge from patients.

This follows earlier proposals of new guidelines on honesty from medical staff about mistakes.

Every NHS hospital trust will have to publish an annual estimate of avoidable deaths, by the end of March 2016.

Since the beginning of the Francis reports, 19 hospitals have been put into special measures while an additional 109 doctors and 1,805 nurses have been recruited to them.

In his announcement of the measures to parliament Hunt, said: "This is not a process of naming and shaming, but learning and improving so that our NHS becomes the first healthcare system in the world to adopt system-wide the safety standards that would be considered normal in other industries."

He added: "If we succeed, we will be the first country anywhere in the world to put its entire healthcare system firmly on the path to eliminating avoidable harm and death."

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