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Lib Dems promise NHS whistleblowing hotline in Wales

Party criticises Labour-controlled government's record on handling staff concerns 

Welsh Liberal Democrats have pledged to create an NHS whistleblowing hotline as part of their Welsh Assembly election campaign.

The party criticised the Labour-controlled Welsh government’s record on responding to staff who speak out.

Party leader Kirsty Williams, who campaigned successfully to introduce the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill, said the proposed service would enable staff to report concerns anonymously.

While Scotland already has such a process in place, in Wales the government has issued whistleblowing policies that health boards can adapt.

Ms Williams said this approach means policies become inconsistent. She added: ‘In many parts of our NHS there continues to be a culture of fear, bullying and secrecy where staff are too scared to come forward.

‘Over the past few years we have seen many shocking reports about care in our NHS, which reveal a complete failure of systems that should be in place to protect our most vulnerable people.

‘We need to encourage a stronger culture of openness in the whistleblowing process, and must reform the complaints procedures.

‘For too long the Labour government has sat back and left NHS organisations to deal with whistleblowers themselves. That simply isn’t good enough.’

A Welsh Labour spokesperson said: 'We have an all-Wales policy that makes it clear how NHS staff can whistleblow and how organisations should respond. This policy is in place in every NHS organisation in Wales. We take whistleblowing extremely seriously.
 
'Welsh Labour in government, in partnership with trade unions, professional bodies and NHS Employers, developed the NHS Wales core principles, which explain the Welsh way of working: the core values and how everyone working in the NHS in Wales can expect to be treated.'

The Welsh Assembly elections will be held on May 5.

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