WHISTLEBLOWERS are an essential part of society. While colleagues may view them as someone breaking ranks, what they do usually has far wider ramifications.

The case at the John Radcliffe demonstrates this.

Rather than keep quiet in the face of standards that alarmed the whistleblower, they came forward, stood up for what they believed in and made a report.

Given the possibility of alienation from peers for their actions, the situation in the Oxford Heart Centre must have been alarming enough for the whistleblower to speak out.

While not everything highlighted by the anonymous person has been taken on board by the hospital trust, their action has contributed to a 37-point action plan.

Ultimately their determination and willingness to put their head above the parapet could save lives.

This is why whistleblowers must be protected – to allow them to come forward to regulators, without fear of job loss or prejudice from colleagues and employers.

We must ensure they have the confidence to come forward through the correct channels and have their concerns taken seriously.

If not, we might never know about possible slips in standards on the front line.