Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to all NHS trusts to urge them not to use gagging orders to stop staff raising concerns over care.
It comes after former United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Gary Walker broke a similar order to raise concerns over hitting targets instead of concentrating on patient care.
He says he had no choice but to sign an agreement linked to a confidentiality clause in April 2011.
And Mr Walker has welcomed the move by the health secretary.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "I think it is a very positive move.
"I don't think it is simply about the Lincolnshire Trust," he added, while calling for an investigation into the "chain of command which he said included the Department of Health, the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority and ULHT.
"I don't think Mr Hunt can investigate his own department so I think he should be looking for somebody exceptionally independent from all of this.
The health secretary has said that staff with the courage and professional integrity to raise concerns over care should be encouraged and celebrated.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said the gagging order was not about stopping people from raising concerns over care but it related to Mr Walker's employment proceedings.