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Cabinet Office approval should be required for severance payments that involve whistleblowers, MPs say

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1101 (Published 24 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1101
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

“Gagging” clauses in settlement agreements with whistleblowers who leave NHS jobs have been used to stop them speaking out on patient care and child safety, say MPs.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee heard “shocking examples of using taxpayers’ money to ‘pay off’ individuals who have flagged up concerns about patient or child safety,” said the committee’s chairwoman, Margaret Hodge. “We are deeply concerned about the use of compromise agreements and special severance payments to terminate employment in the public sector.”

She added, “It is clear that confidentiality clauses may have been used in compromise agreements to cover up failure—and this is simply outrageous. It is vital that people feel free to speak out …

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