Legislating for advocacy: The case of whistleblowing

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Abstract

Background:

The role of nurses as patient advocates is one which is well recognised, supported and the subject of a broad body of literature. One of the key impediments to the role of the nurse as patient advocate is the lack of support and legislative frameworks. Within a broad range of activities constituting advocacy, whistleblowing is currently the subject of much discussion in the light of the Mid Staffordshire inquiry in the United Kingdom (UK) and other instances of patient mistreatment. As a result steps to amend existing whistleblowing legislation where it exists or introduce it where it does not are underway.

Objective:

This paper traces the development of legislation for advocacy.

Conclusion:

The authors argue that while any legislation supporting advocacy is welcome, legislation on its own will not encourage or enable nurses to whistleblow.

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