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  • NMC issues advice on responding to unexpected incidents emergencies

    NMC issues advice on responding to unexpected incidents emergencies

    Tuesday, 22 August 2017 10:54
  • Scotland announces latest primary care workforce survey

    Scotland announces latest primary care workforce survey

    Tuesday, 15 August 2017 18:12
  • Scottish Government strengthens scheme to encourage overseas doctors to relocate to there

    Scottish Government strengthens scheme to encourage overseas doctors to relocate to there

    Thursday, 10 August 2017 17:00
  • Practice nurse prescribers need to be registered with NHS Prescription Services reminder

    Practice nurse prescribers need to be registered with NHS Prescription Services reminder

    Tuesday, 21 June 2016 10:34

FreedomToSpeakUpApril 6 2016

NHS England has opened a five-week consultation on how primary care staff can raise concerns. It follows the publication of an NHS whistleblowing policy by NHS Improvement.

Guidance for the consultation has been developed from the recommendation made by Sir Robert Francis that the principles in his ‘Freedom to speak up’ report should be adapted for primary care. Among the proposals are:

  • each provider should name an individual, who is independent of the line management chain and is not the direct employer, as the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, with the role of offering support and listen to staff raising a concern;
  • NHS primary care providers should be proactive in preventing any inappropriate behaviour, like bullying or harassment, or discrimination towards staff who raise a concern;
  • all NHS primary care providers should review and update their local policies and procedures by March 2017, to align with the agreed guidance.

When the whistleblowing policy is finalised for publication later this year, it is intended that it will set out:

  • who can raise a concern
  • the process for raising a concern
  • how the concern will be investigated
  • what will be done with the findings of the investigation.

April 1 also saw the introduction of guidance for ‘prescribed persons’ as set out in the whistleblowing legislation, The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014. This lists “over 60 organisations and individuals that a worker may approach outside their workplace to report suspected or known wrongdoing.”

It means primary care service staff working at GP surgeries, opticians, pharmacies and dental practices, can raise concerns about inappropriate activity to NHS England. The legislation also covers other sectors such as broadcasting, finance, charities, education, environment, local authorities, police and justice, transport, unions and utilities.

“The new status will provide another source for NHS employees across England to raise concerns and disclosures about their workplace in circumstances where a direct approach to their employer is not favoured, suitable or appropriate,” said NHS England.

Karen Wheeler, National Director, Transformation and Corporate Operations at NHS England, said it was essential that staff feel empowered and without fear of reprisal for raising concerns about patient care.

“Our priorities are to ensure that NHS staff who witness something that could potentially put a patient at risk of harm feel confident that they are there to help maintain a safe, open and honest NHS where we constantly improve, routinely learn from mistakes and address how to improve patient safety.

“This will really help employees working in primary care who wish to approach NHS England as an external body. Where NHS staff have concerns, we want to encourage them to raise them within their organisation directly and at an early stage. We recognise, however, that there will be times when NHS workers will want to approach NHS England. This may occur where for some reason staff are not able to raise a concern internally or feel they have been ignored.”

The consultation on primary care whistleblowing guidance runs until May 6.

Links:

NHS England announcement

NHS England whistleblowing in primary care consultation

‘Freedom to speak up in Primary Care - Guidance to primary care providers on supporting whistleblowing in the NHS’

Department for Business Innovation & Skills ‘Whistleblowing - Prescribed Persons Guidance’

DfBIS - list of prescribed persons and bodies

NHS Improvement ‘Freedom to speak up’ whistleblowing policy for the NHS

‘Freedom to speak up’ original consultation document and responses

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