Tackling whistleblowing in 2015

Sharon Gregory reminds us of the key messages from the Freedom to Speak Up Review.

The publication of the Sir Robert Francis’ report on the Freedom to Speak up Review. ‘Freedom to speak up: An independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS ‘ last month includes new recommendations for a range of measures to ensure that NHS staff remain able to speak up about patient safety concerns.

As a useful reminder, here are the five areas for improvement needed:
• Culture: recommendations to support the fostering of a culture of safety and learning in the NHS where raising concerns should be part of the normal routine business of the organisation
• Handling of cases: systems and structures should be in place to facilitate both informal and formal raising and resolution of concerns and where formal concerns are raised processes should be in place to promote swift and fair investigations to establish the facts.
• Measures to support good practice: ensuring that staff have access to a range of qualified staff to whom concerns can be reported be ease and without the need for formality.
• Particular measures for vulnerable groups: locums, agency, bank staff and students and trainees should all be equally protected by organisational measures.
• Extending the legal protection for those who speak up: to include all NHS bodies and also student nurses and midwives.

Another three key recommendations that stand out from the report are:
• That every Trust nominates a ‘Freedom to Speak up Guardian’
• The establishment of a National Independent Officer to support local Guardians
• Establishing a new support scheme to help NHS staff that are unemployed as a result of raising concerns, get back into work.

The full report sets out far more detail surrounding these recommendations and readers are encouraged to download the full document from the NHS Employers website at www.nhsemployers.org
 

Sharon Gregory