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Survey: Nurses report slight improvement in ability to raise concerns

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There has been a slight improvement in nurses’ perceptions of their ability to raise concerns about patient safety and care at their organisation over the past year.

According to our latest annual survey, 29% of the nearly 750 respondents thought the culture at their organisation had improved either significantly or a bit over the last nine months with regards to raising concerns and being open and honest when things go wrong.

However, the majority, 52%, said it had stayed the same. The remaining 19% thought it had deteriorated a bit or significantly.

Speak Out Safely logo

There was better news when we asked readers whether they understand what was meant by the term “duty of candour” in terms of openness about errors and concerns.

Three quarters, 75%, of respondents said they did understand the term, compared 10% who did not and 15% who were not sure. This represents a positive change since we asked the same question last year, when 67% said they understood the term, 20% did not and 13% were unsure.

Introducing a legal duty of candour on both individual clinicians and healthcare organisations was a key recommendation of the Francis report and an aim of Nursing Times’ Speak Out Safely campaign.

Robert Francis

Robert Francis

The government introduced legislation on 1 October requiring all NHS organisations to comply with the new duty.

As a result, trusts must automatically report any errors that lead to a patient dying or suffering “moderate” or “severe” harm. It will be extended to other health and social care organisations from April 2015, subject to parliamentary approval.

However, the government did not agree to a similar law covering individuals and instead called for existing professional codes of conduct to be beefed up – a process that the Nursing and Midwifery Council is currently undertaking.


1. Has the culture of your organisation changed over the last nine months with regards to raising concerns? 
It has improved significantly    5.60%
It has improved a bit     22.24%
It has stayed the same52.80%
It has deteriorated a bit       10.88%
It has deteriorated significantly   8.48%


2. Do you understand what is meant by the term “duty of candour” in terms of openness about errors and concerns? 
Yes    74.60%
No    10%
Not sure   15.40%








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