WhilE any measures to protect those brave people who report abuse or poor practice are welcome, the Government’s proposals welcomed by hospital managers locally, are fatally flawed.

First, they appear to apply to just the NHS and care sectors, when they should be applied far wider, and not just to patients –other malpractice, thankfully relatively rare, is just as harmful, and thus, reportable.

Second, the Government’s employment ‘improvements’ introduced in 2013, make it less likely that staff will come forward and raise these matters.

Three out of four whistleblowers are sacked by their employer.

To take an unfair dismissal case to an employment tribunal now costs a minimum of £1,200 in fees, even before paying for skilled representation.

Then, assuming you are successful, the maximum award is a year’s pay, and, maybe, your £1,200 repaid.

If you are a nurse on, say, £18,000 per annum, or a part time care assistant on the minimum wage (common in this city), are you going to take the chance with your career and livelihood, in the present economic climate? Very unlikely, I would suggest.

I will welcome protection when it comes with full, and free, employment rights of redress.

Till then, these proposals are a political sop, designed to reassure us, but virtually meaningless in the real world.

In the meantime scandals, like those at Winterbourne View Hospital, will continue and the most vulnerable, both service users and staff will continue to suffer.

Alex Knutsen UNISON Town Hall, Brighton