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Hunt warns on gag orders

Hunt warns on gag orders
Jeremy Hunt has written to every NHS trust to warn they must not stifle criticism of care standards.

The Health Secretary was responding to a ‘gagging order’ placed on NHS whistleblower Gary Walker.

Mr Walker broke the terms of the clause to voice concerns about the situation in United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, and warned that there could be hundreds of other former NHS workers who were subject to similar orders.

Health minister Norman Lamb said this morning the orders were "completely unacceptable".

"It's completely inappropriate to enter an agreement to keep them silent about genuine patient concerns about safety in a hospital and to make large payments sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of pounds," he told Radio 5Live.

A second whistleblower has now claimed he wrote to NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson to raise concerns about care at the ULHT, leading two Tory MPs – Chris Skidmore and Sarah Wollaston, who both sit on the Health Select Committee – to say Sir David should consider his future.

Green Box: Hunt warns on gag ordersClick to open

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On air

Norman Lamb: NHS Whistleblowers have to be protected

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On air

Gary Walker: Gagging clauses in the NHS are widespread

16/02/2013 on Today, BBC Radio 4