Unite was commenting after nurse Margaret Haywood was struck off for secretly filming neglect of elderly hospital patients for BBC’s Panorama.
Karen Reay, Unite’s national officer for health, said the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 'appeared to be somewhat heavy handed'.
She added: ‘We can’t have a culture where whistleblowers feel intimidated into not legitimately reporting wrong doing and bad practice in the NHS.’
Chris Cox, RCN director of legal services, said: ‘The RCN is very surprised at the severity of the punishment dealt out by the NMC panel. Our legal team is working with Margaret to explore the various legal options available to her.’
Craig Turton, NMC media relations and public affairs manager, said: ‘A patient should be able to trust a nurse with his/her physical condition and psychological wellbeing without that confidential information being disclosed to others. These patients were elderly and at their most vulnerable and many were at the end of their lives.
‘Only in the most exceptional circumstances should the cardinal principle of patient confidentiality be breached.’
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