Whistleblowing


NES is committed to dealing responsibly, openly and professionally with any genuine concern you may have about wrongdoing, malpractice or a safety risk in the workplace affecting you, colleagues, stakeholders or NES itself.

We cannot do this without your help. The simple fact is that in many cases you or another staff member may suspect something is going wrong long before the Executive Team find out about it. The sooner we know, the better we are able to protect patient safety and prevent an accident or serious damage.

The following sections provide further detail and guidance on the National Whistleblowing Standards.

People providing an NHS service may identify risks of harm or wrongdoing, such as malpractice, patient safety issues or regulatory breaches, and wish to speak up about them. This is whistleblowing, which may be defined as someone within an organisation raising concerns about a risk of harm or wrongdoing in the public interest.

There are increased protections for anyone delivering NHS services who raise concerns as a 'whistleblower'.

The National Whistleblowing Standards were implemented on 1 April 2021, to support and protect NHS Scotland staff who raise concerns such as malpractice, patient safety or regulatory breaches.

A whistleblowing concern is different to a grievance in that, a grievance is typically a personal complaint about an individual's own employment situation (for example bullying, harassment, discrimination) which is not made in the public interest.

Whereas, a whistleblowing concern is usually raised by an individual who is usually a witness and may have no direct personal involvement in the concern they are raising, but are concerned about the impact on patients or safe working practices.

The routine feedback on the quality of training experience that the Deanery gathers from its doctors in training should not be confused with whistleblowing. Feedback is routinely gathered via surveys such as the GMC NTS, the Scottish Training Survey, the Pre-Visit Questionnaire, the notification of concern process or through meetings with trainees during Deanery Quality Management Visits.

Further guidance on the difference between whistleblowing and a grievance can be found in "The difference between a grievance and a concern" section of the National Whistleblowing Standards.

If you are worried that something wrong or dangerous is happening at work, please don’t keep it to yourself. Unless you tell us about any concerns you may have about patient or staff safety risks, or other wrongdoing, the chances are we won’t find out until it’s too late.

See the Whistleblowing quick reference guide.

Please see here for the National Whistleblowing Standards. 

As some of you may be nervous about raising such matters, here are some tips:

  • Raise it when it’s a concern – we won’t ask you to prove it;
  • Keep it in perspective – there may be an innocent explanation;
  • It will help us if you can say how you think things can be put right;
  • Stay calm – you’re doing the right thing; and
  • If for whatever reason you are worried about raising it with your manager, please follow the escalation guidance

Details of whistleblowing policies and processes and confidential contacts for each of the placement boards can be found here.

If you want confidential advice first, you can talk to your local trade union representative. You may also call the independent whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work (external site) on 020 7404 6609 (or the Confidential Alert Line 0800 008 6112).

We hope that you will feel able to tell your line manager or Training Programme Director in the first instance.

If for whatever reason you are uneasy about this or your manager’s response doesn’t seem right, you should contact:

Alternatively, you can contact one of the Post Graduate Deans to discuss any concerns;

SPECIALITY GROUPING

LEAD DEAN/DIRECTOR

CONTACT EMAIL

ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

Anaesthetics, Emergency Medicine & Intensive Care Medicine

Adam Hill

Adam.Hill@nhs.scot

West

Dental (Core and Speciality)

David Felix

David.Felix@nhs.scot

West

Diagnostics

Alan Denison

Alan.Denison@nhs.scot

North

Foundation

Clare McKenzie

Clare.McKenzie@nhs.scot

East

General Practice, Occupational Health, Public Health, Broad Based Training

Amjad Khan

Amjad.Khan@nhs.scot

South East

Medicine

Alastair McLellan

Alastair.McLellan@nhs.scot

West

Mental Health

Clare McKenzie

Clare.McKenzie@nhs.scot

North

Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics

Alan Denison

Alan.Denison@nhs.scot

North

Surgery

Adam Hill

Adam.Hill@nhs.scot

South East


If you want to talk to them in confidence, just say so. If you prefer to put it in writing, that’s fine but please tell them who you are.

If you want confidential advice first, you can talk to your local trade union representative. You may also call the independent whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work (external site) on 020 7404 6609 (or the Confidential Alert Line 0800 008 6112).

The Confidential Alert Line can be reached on 0800 008 6112 and they will handle your call following the National Confidential Alert Line: Call Flow.

There are recommended training modules on whistleblowing on Turas Learn.