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Share positive actions to support whistleblowing

NHS Employers urges Trusts to share examples of encouraging openness

Louise Prime

Friday, 15 November 2013

NHS organisations should share their success in encouraging staff to raise concerns about care, NHS Employers urged them this morning. It is calling for trusts that have already acted to support staff to raise patient safety (and other) concerns early on, and to build staff confidence that their concern will be taken seriously and without reprisal, to explain to other trusts how they have achieved this.

NHS Employers said: “The raising of concerns (whistleblowing) and the systems that support this have undergone a great deal of scrutiny following the Francis Inquiry and recent reports, including Berwick, Keogh and Cavendish.

“We know that there is a lot more to be done if we are to truly embed an open and honest culture in the NHS, which fully supports staff to raise concerns appropriately and safely. We also know that the NHS is rich with shared learning and good practice.”

NHS Employers said that as well as showcasing what NHS organisations are doing to encourage and support staff concerned about standards of care, it wants “to highlight how trusts can continue to improve the delivery of high quality compassionate care”. It said it is particularly interested to hear from NHS organisations about any work they have undertaken on:

  • local campaigns or awareness raising to encourage and inform staff about how and when to raise a concern (e.g. introduction of confidential helplines, effective communication, support for staff once a concern has been raised, training and support for staff)
  • openness and transparency (e.g. staff engagement,  encouraging staff in joint decision-making around assuring safer patient care, effective communication and open reporting)
  • changing culture and behaviours (e.g. removing barriers, communicating organisational values, introduction of zero-tolerance approach to any type of victimisation that results from a member of staff raising a concern)
  • leadership programmes (e.g. processes that aim to ensure board assurance, training or support for managers)

Trusts’ case studies – which should include a brief outline of the area of good practice, sources to inform the approach, expected or achieved outcomes, any shared learning, and challenges to overcome – will be published on the NHS Employers' website.

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