Support for staff who speak up to raise concerns

Sun, 14 October 2012

National Voices has added its support for a Speaking Up charter launched by NHS Employers. It outlines a commitment by the NHS Employers organisation, regulators, health unions, professional associations and bodies to work together to support staff when raising a safety concern or issue at work.

The charter aims to promote a culture in the NHS where staff can report concerns with confidence. This confidence to raise concerns is crucial for ensuring safe, high quality patient care.

The charter was developed following a whistle-blowing summit held in May 2012 hosted by the NHS Employers organisation. It was attended by representatives of health regulators, health unions, professional associations and representative professional bodies.

The commitments in the charter are:

  • To work in partnership with other organisations to develop a positive culture by promoting openness, transparency, fairness, reporting and learning as an important and integral part of providing safer patient and public care
  • To adhere to the principles of this charter to foster a culture of openness which supports staff to raise concerns
  • To share expertise to create effective ways of breaking down barriers to reporting incidents and concerns early on
  • To exchange information, where it is appropriate and lawful to do so, in the interest of patient and public safety
  • To signpost individuals to support and guidance to ensure that they are fully aware of and understand their protected rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA)
  • To seek to highlight issues where current law or regulations may restrict those who wish to raise a concern about a human error.

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of National Voices, said:

“The Speaking Up charter is a welcome step forward in creating a culture of openness and transparency and these are vital to improve patient safety and care quality. The charter will help staff to raise concerns safely and without fear of reprisal. We urge all health and care organisations to champion it and make sure it is used in practice.”

The charter has been signed by the following organisations:
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dental Association, British Dietetic Association, British Medical Association, British Orthoptic Society, Care Quality Commission, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Federation of Clinical Scientists, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Municipal and Boilermakers, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Hospital Consultations and Specialists Association, Managers in Partnership, NHS Employers, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Royal Mencap Society, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Society of Radiographers, Unison, and Unite.

The full charter can be viewed here.