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Midwives support Speak Out Safely campaign


Maternity staff must be able to publicly raise concerns about the safety of mother and babies without fear of reprisal from their employers, the Royal College of Midwives has warned.

The college is the latest organisation to support our Speak Out Safely campaign. We are calling for the creation of an open and transparent NHS where staff can raise concerns knowing they will be handled appropriately and without fear of bullying.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “It is crucial for the safety of women and babies that midwives can publicly raise legitimate concerns about any aspects of the service they deliver and work in. It is also important that midwives are protected from reprisals by their employers if they take this course of action.”

She added: “Going public on concerns should always of course be a last resort and we would expect employers to act immediately when their staff raise issues about the safety and quality of care.”

The SOS Campaign, which was launched in March this year, has three aims.

We want the government to introduce a statutory duty of candour compelling health professionals and managers to be open about care failings, and trusts to add specific protection for staff raising concerns to their whistleblowing policies.

We also want the government to undertake a wholesale review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act, to ensure whistleblowers are fully protected.

Other supporters of the campaign include the Royal College of Nursing, the Queen’s Nursing Institute and the Florence Nightingale Foundation.

Find out more about the SOS campaign and encourage your trust to support it.


Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.



Readers' comments (7)

  • There is far too much emphasis on whistle blowing at the moment. It feels like an insidious way to turn nurse against nurse, rather than encourage mutual support.

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  • michael stone

    There isn't too much emphasis on whistle blowing, or more correctly raising concerns.

    And mutual support can be a descriptor of different things: 'supporting each other to hide a cock-up' is mutual, but not pro bono publico in the opinion of many of us.

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  • michael stone | 17-Jul-2013 10:19 am

    if people communicated adequately in the first place with one another there would be a lot less need for whistleblowing.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 17-Jul-2013 12:48 pm

    It is indeed the attitude of some staff who 'don't immediately and openly answer questions' that makes patients/relatives suspect 'something is being covered up' - so I agree that if people communicated adequately in the first place there would be less confusion and less complaints, but I'm not so sure about less (need for) 'whistleblowing' - we are perhaps talking about 2 different issues (obviously if by 'whistle blowing' we mean something like 'the hospital managers are covering up its appalling surgical death rates', then if the management had admitted it instead of not admitting it, there would not be anything there to 'whistleblow' about).

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  • michael stone | 18-Jul-2013 1:39 pm

    what would staff be covering up, what do they have to cover up and why?

    surely communications with patients, colleagues and managers are open and transparent? that is how it is in my book and that of most of my colleagues and family and circle of friends of medical professionals anyway! otherwise what is the point of spending years studying for the professions just to cover something up. you have a very negative and ignorant image of how we work.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 18-Jul-2013 2:36 pm

    michael stone | 18-Jul-2013 1:39 pm

    what would staff be covering up, what do they have to cover up and why?

    If you are open and transparent great - don't claim that all NHS staff are, because there are too many cases when they are not. Mistakes are frequently covered up and not admitted to - some trust lawyers will adopt 'covering up the mistakes' as their position.

    Have you never read the coverage of court cases which have revealed 'covering up' ?

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  • Cathy Warwick has just visited Eastbourne midwifery led maternity to support the unit. But many midwives and Paediatricians have spoken out against this provision which does not offer consultant led maternity and means that many women who are not 'eligible' to receive midwifery led care now have to travel 20 miles in labour. Two babies have already been born on-route to the hospital in the next town. So I am at a loss to understand how this provides choice or supports staff who have tried to speak out?

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