National whistleblowing policy published

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01 / 4 / 2016 3.57pm

The first national, integrated whistleblowing policy has been published by NHS Improvement and NHS England, with the aims of standardising the way that staff are supported to raise concerns within NHS organisations. 

Its release follows a public consultation on the draft policy, held throughout November 2015.

Key points from the policy

  • NHS organisations must encourage staff to speak up and set out the steps they will take in order to investigate their concerns.
  • A freedom to speak up guardian must to be appointed in every trust, representing an independent & impartial source of advice for staff.
  • Any concerns which are not resolved promptly through the line manager should be investigated.
  • Such investigations must be evidence-based and led by an independent figure in the organisation, with a subsequent report focusing on lessons to be learnt and the improvement of patient care.
  • The whistleblower must be kept fully informed throughout the investigation.
  • The organisation’s board are to be made aware of high-level findings and the policy will be reviewed and improved annually.  

Read the full policy document which is available on the NHS Improvement website.

The full consultation response document has also been published which brings together all 165 responses.

Opportunity to contribute to further consultation

On the recommendation of Sir Robert Francis, whistleblowing in primary care is being reviewed separately. NHS England is now inviting consultation responses on this new guidance. Further details can be found on the NHS England website

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