DH fails to commit on compulsory whitleblowing by care staff

The government has fallen short of promising to make reporting cases of abuse compulsory for care home and health care staff who work with older people.

An inquiry by the joint committee on human rights, a panel of MPs and peers, said in August that whistleblowing should “become more than just a moral duty”. They called for all staff in care homes and healthcare settings to report abuse or suspected abuse and for whistle-blowers to be given the appropriate protection and confidentiality.

However, a response from the Department of Health has failed to commit the government to such a policy. The reply said that “appropriate requirements” would be put in place over reporting of suspected abuse under the Care Quality Commission, the merged health and social care regulator which will come into force by 2009.

The department was more forthcoming in its response to the committee’s call to establish regular human rights training for social care workers and health professionals. It said: “We will write to the Commission for Regulatory Excellence asking them to agree an approach with the regulators to take forward the Joint Committee on Human Right’s recommendations on education and training.”

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