Nurses need duties and rights to speak up over care, says RCN
The Royal College of Nursing has pledged its support for our Speak Out Safely campaign, which aims to help bring about an NHS that is not only honest and transparent but also actively encourages staff to raise the alarm and protects them when they do so.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “All nurses set out to do a good job. They go into the NHS to look after people with compassion, but with resources being squeezed there can be times when care falls below the standards the public should expect.
“We, like Nursing Times, believe that frontline staff have the right, the ability and indeed the duty to speak up when they see care failings that put patients at risk of harm. There are many organisations where management handle complaints and concerns well, but this is still not consistent in the NHS.”
He added: “We must ensure that nurses – and all NHS staff – are able to tell us what is going on and what is going wrong. We wholeheartedly support Nursing Times Speak Out Safely Campaign.”
Nursing Times is calling for a statutory “duty of candour” introduced compelling NHS staff to be open about care failings; for trusts to add specific protection to their whistleblowing policies for those raising concerns; and ministers to undertake a full review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act to ensure whistleblowers are fully protected.
The campaign has also been backed by nurse whistleblowers Helene Donnelly and Jennie Fecitt as well as groups including the Florence Nightingale Foundation, Cure the NHS, Patients First, and Public Concern at Work.
Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.
University Hospitals of Leicester Trust has become the second NHS orgnisation to declare its support for the Speak Out Safely campaign.
In a statement the trust said: “We already actively encourage any member of our staff to raise genuine concerns they might have about patient safety or quality of care… but are proud to also add our support to the Nursing Times as they encourage NHS staff to raise concerns at the earliest opportunity.
“We understand how important it is that staff feel safe and supported to raise concerns in an honest and transparent environment, and that they feel protected when they have come forward.”
Heart of England Foundation Trust became the first NHS organisation to back our campaign earlier this month.
Nursing Times has drafted a statement that trusts are being encouraged to endorse and place on their websites in support of the campaign.