Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said whistleblowers within the health service must be supported.
Speaking after it was revealed that almost 7,000 complaints had been received by trusts between March 2013 and March 2014, the Assembly health committee chair said;
"In the 12 month period, 6,836 complaint issues were raised with the six Health and Social Care Trusts.
"That figure is concerning, particularly given the fact that the number of complaints has increased dramatically over the last number of years.
"The number of complaints relating to family practitioner services is a cause for concern and I will be raising that issue with the minister.
"Complaints can point out shortcomings in the health service and help to identify solutions to make the service better for everyone.
"In particular, complaints from whistleblowers from within the service can provide a vital insight into the problems which exist.
"I am finding that it is becoming increasingly more difficult for whistleblowers to come forward and that needs to change.
"Systems need to be put in place to support whistleblowers to make it easier for them to come forward with information which will ultimately improve the health service."