Full marks (minus 50% for years of delay) to the Scottish Government et al for putting an NHS staff whistleblowers helpline on their to-do list ("NHS staff get whistleblowers' helpline to report bad practice", The Herald, November 30).

All we need now is a similar system for patients and their carers to flag up shortcomings in the service they have received. The standard practice of large organisations demanding complainants fill in a daunting form seems designed to deter and deflect, when in fact many people wishing to raise an issue are neither seeking compensation nor demanding disciplinary action; they have merely seen an opportunity for the service to be improved.

All that is required is that someone listens to the point being made, and if it is valid the matter is fed into staff procedures or training so that the opportunity is not lost.

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With the best will in the world, can we be confident that the new system will achieve this?

If staff morale is so low that employees at whatever level are constantly looking over their shoulders for the bogeyman with a big stick, these opportunities will continue to be missed.

James Sandeman,

3 Scone Place,

Newton Mearns,