Sir Robert Francis publishes report on whistleblowing in the NHS

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of the Freedom to Speak Up Review, has outlined a number of measures to ensure NHS staff are free to speak up about patient safety concerns in the future.

His report to Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, published on 11 February, identifies an on-going problem in the NHS, where staff are deterred from speaking up when they have concerns and can face shocking concerns when they do.

The review incorporated the experiences of over 600 people, while an additional 19,000 staff responded to an online survey.

It revealed that many staff want to speak up but are put off because they fear victimisation, while others feel their concerns won’t be listened to.

Sir Robert said:

‘Failure to speak up can cost lives. I began this review with an open mind about whether there are things getting in the way of NHS staff speaking up. However, the evidence received by the Review has confirmed that there is a serious issue within the NHS. This issue is not about whistleblowing—it is fundamentally a patient safety issue.’

Proposals from the Review include:

• Action at every level to make raising concerns part of every member of staff’s normal working life.
• A Freedom to Speak Up Guardian in every NHS Trust.
• A National Independent Officer who can support local Guardians when cases go wrong.
• A new support scheme to help good NHS staff who have found themselves out of a job.

To view the Report in full, visit:

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 17 February 2015.

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