One of the largest acute hospital trusts in the country has become the latest to back the Nursing Times Speak out Safely campaign.
The University Hospitals of Leicester Trust says it “fully supports” the principles of the campaign which aims to make it easier for frontline nurses to raise concerns.
The East Midlands acute services provider, which employs approximately 10,000 staff across three hospitals, has issued a statement backing the campaign and making its own pledge to staff.
Speak out Safely, launched in the wake of the Francis report into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, is calling on NHS providers to make an explicit commitment to staff that they will not face disciplinary action for raising genuine patient safety concerns.
It has already gained support from the Heart of England Foundation Trust which added a public pledge to its website last week.
A spokesman for the University Hospitals of Leicester said: “We promise that where staff identify a genuine patient safety concern, we will support them, fully investigate and, if appropriate, act on their concern. We will also give them feedback on how we have responded to the issue they have raised.
“We want all of our staff to know it is safe for them to speak up when they feel something is wrong.”
As well as encouraging staff to raise concerns with management it also offers an anonymous route for concerns to be raised.
Nursing Times is also calling on the government to implement a statutory “duty of candour”, as recommended by Robert Francis, requiring NHS staff and organisations to be open about mistakes.
This would also protect whistleblowers because anyone who tries to prevent a member of staff raising concerns would be committing a criminal offence.
The government has said it will bring in a legal duty for board members but has not yet made a decision on applying that to staff.
Speak Out Safely is also aiming to obtain a commitment from the government to carry out a full review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act to ensure it gives adequate protection for NHS staff.