Is whistleblowing now mandatory? The impact of mandatory reporting law on trust relationships in health care

J Law Med. 2013 Sep;21(1):82-101.


Trust is vital for promoting positive health care relationships aimed at achieving positive patient outcomes. Patients, as well as the broader society, trust that health care practitioners who have been granted authority by the state to provide safe and beneficial health care are competent to do so. Recent instances where patients have been harmed as the result of treatment that fell below the accepted standard of competence have negatively impacted on trust. As the state has a responsibility to protect the public from this type of harm, legislation that mandates reporting of certain instances where the behaviour of health care professionals has fallen below the acceptable standard has been introduced. While this may have been designed to restore public trust, this article argues that it has the potential to diminish trust on the basis that mandatory reporting may be equivalent to mandatory whistleblowing.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Mandatory Reporting*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Trust*
  • Whistleblowing*