MPs have called on regulators to tell health professionals that they will be investigated if they fail to report concerns about colleagues.
The cross-party health select committee has urged the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to investigate staff for failing to report concerns in the same way they would for poor practice of their own.
At the same time, MPs did acknowledge that whistle-blowers within the NHS sometimes end up facing disciplinary action from employers if they do bring forward their concerns.
Doctors regulator the General Medical Council (GMC) has pledged to do more in this area.
The committee's chairman, the Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell, said: "This is an underdeveloped part of the regulators' work.
"We regard the principle behind this wider obligation as an important safeguard for patients.
"We're not suggesting a new doctrine for staff. It's part of the professional obligation – being aware of the practices around them is in the professional codes."