Freedom to speak up: whistleblowing policy for the NHS


A national integrated whistleblowing policy that will help standardise the way NHS organisations should support staff who raise concerns.

Recommended by Sir Robert Francis in his Freedom to Speak Up review, this policy contributes to the need to develop a more open and supportive culture that encourages staff to raise any issues of patient care quality or safety.

Our policy will ensure:
  • NHS organisations encourage staff to speak up and set out the steps they will take to get to the bottom of any concerns
  • organisations will each appoint their own whistleblowing guardian, an independent and impartial source of advice to staff at any stage of raising a concern
  • any concerns not resolved quickly through line managers are investigated
  • investigations will be evidence-based and led by someone suitably independent in the organisation, producing a report which focuses on learning lessons and improving care
  • whistleblowers will be kept informed of the investigation’s progress
  • high level findings are provided to the organisation’s board and the policy will be annually reviewed and improved
We expect all NHS organisations in England to adopt this policy as a minimum standard to help to normalise the raising of concerns for the benefit of all patients.

Read our external raising concerns (whistleblowing) policy that sets out how we consider information from people working in the NHS.

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