Ayrshire’s whistleblowing champion has urged council chiefs to promote a culture where people can feel more confident in raising concerns across health and social care services.

New national whistleblowing standards came into effect across NHS Scotland on 1 April – delayed from last year due to the pandemic.

Dr Sukhomoy Das worked at Crosshouse until he raised concerns about the abilities of a locum.

He was then victimised by NHS Ayrshire and Arran health board for being a whistleblower – with a tribunal finding he had been unfairly excluded from new job opportunities at the health board.

The new policy also sets out that senior managers within health and social care partnerships must promote a culture of encouraging staff to raise issues or concerns at the earliest opportunity.

The chief officers across health and social care must ensure staff across both the local authority and the NHS, including students, trainees, agency workers or volunteers, are able to raise a concern and have access to both employers procedures.

Dr Das said: “I just wanted to emphasis the importance of whistleblowing in the NHS partner services and basically explain my role as whole on the standards. The standards are applicable not just to NHS staff but health and social care partnership deliver serviced of NHS.

“They [the standards] are applicable across all [services and] must be available to anyone delivering NHS services directly or indirectly, including current and former employees, agency workers, contractors, third sector workers, trainees and students, volunteers non-executive directors.“It is also important for others in the health and social care partnerships and other services to also feel able to raise concerns.

“This is a bit of a complicated area from what it used to be before because of this integration that is going on with regard to the application of standards.

“The chief officers are responsible for ensuring that systems and procedures are in place for raising concerns. Each partnership is expected to show their staff they value the concerns raised and make sure information is published and promoted about their concerns raised.

“I want to promote a culture where people feel confident to raise concerns it is of benefit to the service. Technically it is a public interest disclosure, therefore it is vital we support that public interest disclosure in a public service completely funded and used by the public.”

He added: “ It doesn’t help when that whistleblower comes out later through media or other means, the company’s reputation is not protected – so we sometimes have this wrong notion to silence the whistleblower to protect the organisation’s reputation, I don’t believe that, it puts the organisation at high risk.”