Are Whistleblowers protected in the public health sector?

18.5.2022 20:47
Are Whistleblowers protected in the public health sector?

Protection of public health is one of the key areas secured by the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2019/1937. It is in this area that Whistleblowers can report violations or irregularities they have directly or indirectly witnessed.

What is the protection of public health?

Ensuring the protection of public health has recently become one of the main topics concerning the prevailing Covid-19 situation. Underestimating the problems existing in this sector should never take place, but in recent years the protection of public health has been treated as a priority.

Public health is one of the components of health care and, according to its definition, is "an organized social effort, carried out mainly by joint actions of public institutions, aimed at improving, promoting, protecting and restoring the health of the population".

The European Union takes several measures to ensure public health, including:

- protection of the health of all citizens,

- developing the digitization of healthcare systems,

- preventing and combating a pandemic,

- introducing provisions to protect Whistleblowers in this sector.

Any irregularities related to mistakes that expose other people to health or life damage, using items for the individual purposes of an individual, or offering money in exchange for benefits that will be noticed should be reported immediately. For this purpose, each organization falling under the Whistleblower Protection Directive is obliged to create an internal channel for receiving and handling tickets, which may be, for example, a Whistleblower. An important point of the directive is the provision on the prohibition of retaliatory actions against Whistleblowers.

Which Public Health Acts Are Covered in the Whistleblower Protection Directive?

Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October lists measures that regulate high standards of quality and safety of organs and substances of human origin and the safety of medical devices. These are the legal acts concerning public health listed below:

- Directive setting standards of quality and safety for the collection, testing, preparation, storage, and dispensing of human blood and blood components.

- Directive on setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage, and distribution of human tissues and cells.

- Directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation.

- Directive on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use.

- Regulation on veterinary medicinal products.

- Pediatric Medicinal Products Regulation.

In conclusion, health protection and the provision of adequate medical care services to the general public constitute a public good. Therefore, the European Union, together with the Member States, is trying to reduce the individual financial responsibility of individuals and focuses on providing adequate protection to the entire public health sector. Responsibility for the health of the society lies with the European Union, which deals with the creation of directives and legal acts ensuring protection, which is then implemented into national regulations. Any irregularity that is noticed in the public health sector should be promptly reported by Whistleblowers through dedicated internal channels. Whistleblower is the system for receiving and handling tickets, fully compliant with the requirements of the directive and ensuring the protection of persons reporting violations.