Guidance on raising concerns about patient safety in the wake of the crisis at Mid Staffordshire Hospital was launched last week by the union Unison at its annual health conference in Liverpool.
The “Duty of Care Handbook” aims to give staff, from hospital porters to health visitors, the confidence to raise concerns, even if it brings them into conflict with management, the union said.
It is being backed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence and the Health Professions Council,
Unison assistant national officer for health and social care Sarah Peters said the advice was especially important in the current climate of post cuts, vacancy freezes and changes to services putting extra pressure on nurses.
She said: “We are also aware of some high profile cases such as Baby P and Mid Staffordshire that are really putting the issue in the spotlight.
“This handbook is intended to provide members and activists with guidance on ways which you can all raise concerns about potential impacts on the workforce enabling all members to become guardians of safe and effective health care services,” she added.
Research, published last week by the charity Public Concern at Work, suggested one in four people working in the health and social care sector may have been ignored when they tried to raise concerns with managers.
The study was based on an assessment of the calls received by the charity’s whistleblowing advice between 2002 and 2010.
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