Information for NHS staff

Information
NHS employers cannot assist individuals with local concerns however in this section we signpost you to information about where to seek independent advice.

If you are considering raising a concern, there are some practical steps you can take to ensure you are prepared and understand the process. 

Read your organisation's raising (whistleblowing) concerns policy

Your trust policy should be available on your organisation's intranet site. If not, either your HR, personnel department, manager, supervisor, mentor or a union representative will be able to signpost you.

Understand how to raise a concern

The raising concerns policy will outline who you should raise a concern with, and the appropriate way to escalate it if necessary. Understanding the process is key to ensure the issues you raise are listened to, properly investigated and that your employer has an opportunity to resolve it quickly and effectively. By following the process correctly you are protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), which exists to protect individuals to genuinely raise a concern using a correct process in the event they suffer some form of victimisation as a result. A helpful guide to PIDA can be found on the Public Concern at Work website.

You can also access some helpful film resources developed by Health Education England, which have been designed to help you confidentially raise concerns.

Find out who you can talk to in your organisation

Ideally, we would always recommend you raise any concerns as soon as possible with your line manager, supervisor or mentor, either informally or formally. If this isn't possible, then you may need to speak to another member of the management team, or other identified person or mechanism as identified in your organisation's raising concerns (whistleblowing) policy. This could be your local Freedom to Speak Up guardian, champion or ambassador, or indeed a local union representative. Download our poster which takes you through the correct process. 

Know where you can access independent advice

If you are unsure about an incident, you can seek independent advice from the National Whistleblowing Helpline, Public Concern at Work or Citizen's Advice.

Whistleblowing Helpline

The national Whistleblowing Helpline provides free, independent and confidential advice to all staff and contracted workers within health and social care. While the helpline cannot investigate concerns, it can provide invaluable advice on whether your concern is indeed whistleblowing and talk you through the process to ensure it is followed correctly. The helpline are also able to advise on how you can escalate the concern with a prescribed body if needed. Further information on prescribed bodies can be found below. 

To speak to a helpline advisor call 08000 724 725 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. An answer machine and ring-back service is available for calls outside of these times. Alternatively you can email enquiries@wbhelpline.org.uk.

Understand when and how to escalate a concern

If you are unable to raise your concern with your employer, perhaps because you don't feel listened to or are worried the concern hasn't been taken seriously or effectively dealt with, you can refer it to a prescribed body/person (recognised regulatory body) who can intervene if needed. A list of relevant prescribed bodies can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Guidelines of how to escalate a concern with a regulatory body, can be found on the websites below:

Additional guidance for staff outside of England

For NHS staff in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may find it helpful to refer the following websites:

Wales

Health Inspectorate Wales, Department for Health and Social Services, and the Care Council for Wales.  

Scotland

Related News

New case study - how trust wide engagement has encouraged speaking up

Find out how York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has engaged with staff over eight sites to create a culture of openness in relation to raising concerns.

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Freedom to Speak Up awards and new inspection guidance for guardians

The Freedom to Speak Up Awards are a great way of recognising and celebrating the fantastic work being done in trusts in relation to Freedom to Speak Up. Find out how to get involved.

View article

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