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22 June 2015, 12:01
An independent national officer is to be appointed to review how cases of whistleblowing are handled in the NHS in Scotland.
The creation of the role follows the publication of a report for the UK Government on the treatment and experiences of whistleblowers earlier this year.
The Scottish Government said its Independent National Officer will provide "an independent and external level of review'' on the handling of whistleblowing cases dealt with by NHS Scotland.
It will be consulting on the details of the role and remit in the autumn this year.
The post is one of a number of measures being developed by the Scottish Government to support, encourage and promote whistleblowing.
Whistleblowing champions will also be introduced in each NHS Scotland board.
They will help to ensure that procedures within boards are working well to support staff in raising any concerns.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "It is very important that NHS workers feel they can raise any concerns they may have about patient safety and malpractice, because it helps to improve our health service.
"I am confident that NHS Scotland has robust whistleblowing procedures in place but I want to go further and embed an honest and open reporting culture, where all staff have the confidence to speak up without fear, and with the knowledge that any genuine concern will be treated seriously and investigated properly.''
Norman Provan of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Scotland, welcomed the appointment of whistleblowing champions in every board - a measure it had called for last year.
"This will assure NHS staff that the positive whistleblowing policies that we have in NHS Scotland are being put in to practice, robustly and effectively,'' he said.
"It's important that the Scottish Government continues to work with us and the other NHS trade unions to ensure that whistleblowing is genuinely effective so that staff, patients and the public have faith in the NHS Scotland whistleblowing system.
"That way problems with patient care will be resolved and staff can get on with providing the high quality care that they so clearly want to.''