Of all the recommendations, analysis, commentary and follow up reports coming out of the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, the key area that gets the most press attention is the issue of raising concerns (more commonly referred to as 'whistleblowing'). Over recent months, there has been much debate recognising that legislative drivers and guidance will only take us so far, and that taking action quickly and effectively is absolutely crucial – we are all well aware of the catastrophic effects when concerns are not raised and dealt with appropriately.
The recent NHS staff survey and similar surveys undertaken by the professional regulatory bodies, show an increasing awareness in staff of how to raise a concern, but there are still issues to be addressed around building staff confidence in local systems, and removing the fear of reprisals.
Protecting patients from harm and ensuring dignity of care requires an open and transparent culture at all levels of the system, but getting it right is no easy task. As an organisation that represents employers in the NHS, we’ve hosted a number of debates, webinars and seminars on raising concerns in the workplace. We have updated our guidelines and on-line resources, as well as producing a series of informative podcasts and videos – all targeted at raising awareness of good practice in relation to affecting cultural change and supporting NHS organisations to implement and embed frameworks. This supports staff to fully understand the correct route to follow in regard to raising concerns (either internally with their employer or with a recognised professional body) so that they can be assured of protections under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA); and for managers to deal with concerns raised with them effectively and professionally.
We are fully engaged in the range of programmes that are underway to help influence the changes that need to happen to embed the right kind of culture and behaviours which enable NHS staff to raise concerns. We also work closely with the national Whistleblowing Helpline (for health and social care), health unions, and other interested parties.
The following pages offer:
HSJ raising concerns feature - this HSJ feature on raising concerns contains commentary from Dean Royles and includes case studies from East London NHS Trust Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Whistleblowing we have two problems - Dean Royles looks at prickly issues and different approaches
Francis - one year on - another interesting blog from Dean Royles about the changes one year on from the Francis report