My thoughts on the national guardian role

Christopher Hall

17 / 5 / 2016 3.12pm

Chris Hall is a freedom to speak up guardian at Hounslow and Richmond Community NHS Trust. Read his fourth blog in a series that aims to track his experiences in the role. 

The office of the National Guardian: Freedom To speak Up (FTSU) is now up and running. Its primary purpose is to support the work of local FTSU guardians like myself. Unfortunately, Dame Eileen Sills who was appointed as the first national guardian felt unable to do justice to the role, given that she is also the chief nurse at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. She stepped down on 4th March.

The position of national guardian has now been re-advertised and a replacement should be in post within the next few months.

Local guardians were obviously disappointed by Dame Eileen’s resignation, as this has delayed the work of the national guardian office. We were looking forward to an increasing level of support from the office, given that all NHS trusts must have plans in place to appoint a local FTSU guardian by 1 October this year.

Nevertheless, important work on developing training for local guardians has continued and I was asked to be actively involved in this process. I hope I bring a front-line perspective to the table. My trust was one of the early adopters of the role and we have gained much practical experience over the past year. My fellow local guardians and I see this training as paramount in making the role as effective as possible in helping our colleagues feel comfortable in raising concerns about patient care.

Last month, NHS Improvement and NHS England published a national raising concerns (whistleblowing) policy. This was one of a number of recommendations of the review by Sir Robert Francis into whistleblowing in the NHS. Local guardians are now actively involved in integrating our own local processes into this policy and providing detailed information about how we will look into public interest concerns raised by staff. I will provide an update on how this is progressing in my next blog. 

For further information about the guardian role at Hounslow and Richmond Community NHS Trust contact Chris Hall at Christopher.Hall@HRCH.NHS.UK.

Read Chris' previous blogs on this subject:

My experience so far

My experience so far as a freedom to speak up guardian

My guardian role six months on

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