Nursing Times is petitioning the Department of Health to improve protection for nurses that blow the whistle over patient safety concerns, as part of our new Speak Out Safely campaign.
The “Protection for Whistleblowers” e-petition was launched on the government’s website yesterday. If it receives 100,000 signatures over the next 12 months, it will eligible for a debate in the House of Commons.
The petition calls on the government to implement recommendations in the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report, published last month by Robert Francis QC. The recommendations made in the report require:
- Healthcare providers who believe/suspect treatment provided caused death/serious injury to a patient to inform that patient or other authorised person as soon as practicable
- Medical practitioners, nurses and other health professionals who believe/suspect treatment provided by a healthcare provider employing them caused death/serious injury to report this to their employer.
- It should be a criminal offence for a medical practitioner, nurse or health professional or director of a healthcare organisation to:
- Obstruct another in performing these duties
- Provide information intending to mislead a patient/relative about such an incident.
- We would add that there be:
- Exemption from disciplinary action for those reporting adverse events (except where there is a criminal offence or it would be unsafe for a professional to continue to practise).
Please take a minute to sign the petition and support the Speak Out Safely campaign.
A survey carried out to mark the launch of the campaign revealed that nurses who speak out about concerns in the NHS are likely to face negative consequences and are often ignored.
The survey of more than 800 nurses revealed that many nurses complain of a bullying culture in the NHS, with staff scared they will be labelled as troublemakers if they highlight problems or concerns about patient care.
We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care, and create a more open NHS. Support our campaign by signing our petition
Visit our Speak out Safely page to find out more.