Matt Hancock: 'NHS staff who speak out over coronavirus should not face punishment'
NHS and social care workers who speak publicly about the pressure faced from coronavirus should not fear punishment, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock yesterday said “transparency is important” after reports frontline staff had been threatened with being reported to their regulatory bodies or sent home from work for speaking to the media or posting online, whether about issues such as a lack of protective equipment or the personal impact of the crisis.
He said: “Of course people should be able to talk about the problems that there are, and indeed they do.
“I’ve seen both fantastic examples of people working hard and going public with the work they’re doing and the conditions they’re working under, and I’ve also seen some people saying they’re delighted there’s good PPE.
“And we’ve also seen people saying there’s a problem in their area. I think that’s totally normal and standard, and people should feel free to talk about what happens at work.
“I think that transparency is important, it is the sort of approach we’ve tried to take as a Government.”
Unions and the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) previously warned NHS staff were being told by trusts not to speak publicly or face disciplinary action.
The organisation said one consultant paediatrician in Yorkshire was told to be aware their social media was being monitored.
And a joint statement from Unison, the Royal College of Midwives, GMB, Unite, TUC, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the British Dietetic Association previously said that workers are being gagged against speaking out over concerns or face disciplinary action if they refuse to undertake activities without appropriate PPE.
DAUK President Dr Samantha Batt Rawden previously told The Guardian: “Doctors across the frontlines are extremely concerned about the lack of personal protective equipment. Many have told us they have tried to raise concerns through the proper channels but have been warned against taking these concerns further.
"At this time when we desperately need every single doctor on the frontline, some have had their careers threatened, and at least two doctors have been sent home from work. This is unacceptable. Doctors have a moral duty to make their concerns regarding Covid-19 public if these cannot be resolved locally,”
NHS England said staff continued to speak to the media about Covid-19.
Editor’s note: First and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.