Patients First are nurses, doctors, managers and other staff who have made
patients their first concern by raising concerns about poor standards of
care and unsafe practice and in doing so, have often suffered reprisals in
the workplace for highlighting such concerns.
PF is a network of such health professionals & their supporters. We work to
protect whistleblowers and create an NHS where they are no longer needed.
Our purpose is to reduce death and harm in the NHS by campaigning for the UK Government to create policies and laws that ensure the NHS becomes open and accountable and we will actively support all those who raise concerns about patient safety.
Changes in our approach to whistleblowing cases
Wherever possible we advise moving away from legal action. This is highly costly for the individual whistleblower, which in majority of cases they can ill-afford. Money is also wasted by the Trust which should go on patient care. However, avoiding legal action is not always possible as in some individual cases this is the only way forward.
We don’t feel that courts is the right place to bring about issues on patient safety or NHS fraud. There should ideally be discussions between the person raising concerns and the management of their Trust to bring about a positive solution.
The aim of Patients First is to bring about effective dialogue between different levels of staff within a Trust in the interest of patient safety. By doing this, there is avoidance of repercussion as a direct result of whistleblowing as currently exists is many trusts. Patients are subsequently placed at risk, as raised concerns are not acted upon and responsible individuals/management turn a blind eye on the situation. The problem further escalates whereby any future or potential whistleblowers are prevented from raising concerns when they see wrongdoing.
Patients First is run by unpaid volunteers. We don’t claim many of our expenses. Some of our volunteers are whistleblowers who have lost their jobs speaking out in the public interest on patient safety dangerous care and fraud.
We are entirely reliant on £20 membership fees and occasional small donations.
We are grateful to a whole range of professionals who are not whistleblowers who provide unpaid advice and support, most notably lawyers and journalists.
We do not, as Patients First, recommend any individual law firm or solicitor though we are individually happy to share our experiences (good and bad) of individual law firms.
We recognise that whistleblowers turn to their trade unions or try to use their house insurance to get legal advice and representation and we understand why individual staff may do that, as there is often no alternative. Very often whistleblowers are disappointed either by the response from their union lawyers or from their court case. The legal odds are generally stacked against us despite the existence of the Public Interest Disclosure Act which at best currently provides limited compensation afterwards not protection at the time
However our focus is now less on legal action because we believe that the it is often an employer’s strategy to turn patient safety and public interest disputes into employment disputes thereby victimising whistleblowers and ignoring the original concern that was raised.
We campaign to change the workplace culture in the NHS so whistleblowing is welcomed and to that end work to seek systems-wide change as well as improvements in the law.
We have already had some success and with your support will achieve more.
We need funds!
Donate to help with the campaign to protect patients and raise standards. Every penny you provide is spent on the campaign! We are all volunteers.
Definitions of a whistle-blower
“a person who informs on someone engaged in an illicit activity” Source: Oxford dictionary
“a person who tells someone in authority about something illegal that is happening, especially in a government department or a company” Source: Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
Or to Blow the whistle:
“bring an illicit activity to an end by informing on (the person responsible)” Source: Oxford dictionary