There have been a total of eighteen whistleblowing claims made in the Northern Health Trust area.
The claims, made between 2011 and 2014, represent staff’s attempts to shine a light into the hidden recesses of local health services, raising concerns over the utilisation of staff, staff conduct and fraud.
In the same period the Belfast Trust had just 12 allegations of whistleblowing while the Southern Trust had 17. The highest incidence was in the Western Trust where there were 21 claims. The figures were released by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety following a question to his office by Fearghal McKinney, Assembly member for South Belfast.
During 2011/12 there was just one whistleblowing claim in the local trust, but within a year this had risen to four.
In the most recent year recorded there were 13 allegations of whistleblowing - the highest from amongst any Trust in the country.
The surge in whistleblowers could be as a result of an ‘invitation to whistleblow’ letter that had been circulated by the Minister of Health in 2012.
All of the whistleblowers remained anonymous, which makes it difficult to clarify the full details of the complaints on some occasions.
A spokesperson for the Northern Trust said: “The Trust has a robust policy for dealing with whistleblowing cases and treats all matters raised under the policy seriously, ensuring these are investigated and appropriate action taken.”