Scots NHS alert line taking calls from rest of UK

hospital bed
Image caption The government said lessons must be learned to ensure the best possible service to patients

More than a third of calls to a confidential phone line which allows health workers in Scotland to raise concerns about NHS practices have come from other parts of the UK.

The National Confidential Alert Line has received 53 calls since its launch last month.

Of those, 19 were from NHS workers in other parts of the UK, with the rest from staff in Scotland.

The phone line opened on 2 April as a year-long pilot.

It was introduced in the wake of the Francis Inquiry, which uncovered "appalling" failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in England.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "It is vitally important that all NHS workers feel that they can raise any concerns they may have about patient safety and malpractice because it helps to improve our health service.

"We have created a way that staff can speak to an independent organisation anonymously, safely and confidentially.

"I have also been clear that any areas of concern have to be investigated so that lessons will be learned."

Among the calls from within Scotland, 23 were from people anonymously raising concern about practices in the NHS and the other 11 calls were about personnel or contractual matters.

Concerns raised by employees are said to have been passed to the relevant authority for investigation.

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