Don't forget the NHS Freedom to Speak Up policy!

Whistleblowing support

Published: 20 May 2020 Trade Union & IR

The Society and the NHS are reminding members and trusts to use theFreedom to speak up: raising concerns policy for the NHS.

The policy should be adopted by all NHS organisations in England. Key points include:

  • Staff are encouraged to speak up and steps are set out to get to the bottom of concerns
  • The appointment of a whistleblowing guardian for each organisation
  • Concerns not resolved quickly are investigated
  • Investigations are evidence-based and led by someone independent in the organisation
  • High-level findings are provided to the organisation’s board and the policy will be annually reviewed and improved

“The NHS is always under huge pressure. As we enter the next phase of expanding the range of services, managers and representatives could easily find themselves being pushed towards the wrong decision or a compromise too far,” Ian Cloke, SCoR health and safety policy officer, said.

“The Freedom to Speak Up policy is an important document which amplifies the rights and obligations of every SoR member and rep to speak up if something is proposed that is unsafe for them and/or patients.”

A recent NHS blog states that all NHS organisations in England are expected to adopt the policy as a minimum standard.

Freedom to Speak Up Guardians provide additional support and are a route for escalation for all NHS staff. A directory of Guardians in each trust is available online.

Freedom to speak up: raising concerns policy for the NHS