Raising concerns at work (whistleblowing)


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:

Featured activity

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

Filling out form

Speaking Up Charter

The 'speaking up' charter, launched on 15 October 2012 was developed as one of the outcomes following our Whistleblowing Summit in May.


Guidance for employers

NHS Employers provides advice and guidance to support the development of whistleblowing policies and procedures in the NHS.


Sir Robert Francis review of whistleblowing processes

Information about the review into whistleblowing process being led by Sir Robert Francis

Woman with a megaphone

Tools and Resources

Useful tools and resources for you including free downloadable posters and flyers.

Open book

Whistleblowing legislation and policy drivers

This section of the website provides a summary of supporting legislation and policy drivers.

Doctor consultation

Shared learning and good practice examples

Use this section to submit your shared learning and good practice examples and find out what other NHS organisations are doing to encourage staff to raise concerns early and what support mechanisms they have in place to enable staff to do so safely.

Guidance for staff

Find out what raising concerns advice and support are available through the National Whistleblowing helpline and other regulatory bodies.

Raising concerns newsletter

Regular online newsletters sharing the latest news on raising concerns.

Guidance on the use of settlement agreements and confidentiality clauses

This page provides guidelines for employers when considering the use of settlement agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements) and confidentiality clauses.

Related News

Join our new raising concerns 'expert network'

NHS Employers is setting up an Expert Network to help us develop materials for a new raising concerns toolkit.

View article

Joint NHS Employers and NHS Confederation response to 'Freedom to speak up' review

Joint NHS Confederation and NHS Employers response to Freedom to speak up review

View article

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