24 / 1 / 2014 Midnight
Responding to the Public Accounts Committee's report on compromise agreements and severance payments, Sue Covill, director of employment services at the NHS Employers organisation, said:
“It is really pleasing that no evidence was found of the use of so-called gagging clauses in the NHS. Of the 50 cases reviewed by the NAO none had a gagging clause and in healthcare the average payment was £13,700.
“It is absolutely essential that staff feel confident to speak out, whatever the circumstances. We accept that the wording of these compromise agreements has sometimes confused people and this had to change. NHS Employers is widely circulating guidance to ensure these documents leave signatories in no doubt that they retain the important legal right to raise concerns in the interests of patient care.
“Compromise and settlement agreements can be used wisely and help save taxpayers money.
"Significant progress has been made in recent years to improve procedures for staff to raise concerns and the vast majority of NHS staff say they know how to and feel safe to do so. We want this to be the case for all our staff.“