Social care staff and employers are being urged to blow the whistle on abuse and poor practice through a helpline formerly open to NHS staff only.
The helpline is targeted at those who have concerns about the services they work in but are unsure how to raise them or fear the repercussions of reporting them internally.
The free number - 08000 724725 - can be accessed from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, with an out-of-hours answering service, and the helpline service is now provided by Mencap.
"This initiative will give NHS staff and social care workers the confidence to report abuse or raise concerns about patient and service user safety without fear of victimisation or personal reprisal," said Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring.
The barriers to whistle-blowing were highlighted by the Winterbourne View scandal. Former nurse Terry Bryan reported concerns about poor practice at the learning disability hospital to his managers, and to the Care Quality Commission, but neither acted on his representations.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace.
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails.