Freedom to speak up support for NHS staff

NHS England’s Speaking Up Support Scheme for 2024 is now open for applications.

29 January 2024

The Speaking Up Support Scheme is available to recently and currently employed NHS workers who have experienced an adverse impact on both their professional and personal lives following a formal speaking up process.  

Formerly known as the Whistleblowers Support Scheme, it was developed by NHS England in 2019 in response to recommendations from the 2015 Freedom to Speak Up review.

Evidence from the 2023 intake showed the scheme helped reduce the negative impact experienced following speaking up. It also improved levels of hope, self-belief and optimism in participants. Asked to rate the likelihood of recommending the scheme, participants gave an average score of 4.75 out of 5.

What does the scheme offer?

The scheme offers eligible NHS workers access to an online structured programme of support, including health and wellbeing, one-to-one psychological wellbeing support, career coaching, personal development workshops and a range of practical group sessions.

Who can apply?

NHS England welcomes all employees, both current and those who’ve been part of the NHS within the last three years, who fit the eligibility criteria. It includes all workers regardless of banding and clinical/non-clinical backgrounds.

How can employers get involved?

We encourage NHS employers to ensure all staff are aware of the scheme. This can be actioned through education or HR departments, through freedom to speak up (FTSU) guardians, and by ensuring all policies and processes are up to date in reflecting the principles of the NHS England FTSU guide.

Employers should actively seek to connect with workers who:

  • work unsociable hours and may not be aware of FTSU guardians or guides
  • are in lower bands and may need reassurance about speaking up
  • may experience cultural barriers when speaking up

NHS England is now taking applications for the 2024 scheme. The closing date for applications is 4 March 2024. For more information and details of how to apply, see the NHS England website.