It is extremely worrying that a large number of nurses still feel their concerns are going unheard, even worse that some have to live with the threat of reprisal.
Robert Francis’s report clearly spelt out what happens when members of staff are ignored.
There needs to be greater transparency in the current system so that nurses feel supported when they do raise concerns.
The RCN has repeatedly said that all nursing staff have a responsibility to protect their patients and speak out when they see examples of poor care. However, they need to be confident that managers will take action.
This should run from the line manager on a ward to a trust’s Chief Executive and Board.
In 2009, the RCN introduced a whistleblowing hotline, although this is no replacement for staff raising concerns with their employers.
Ultimately it is patients that suffer when staff are ignored. We need senior staff across the NHS to know what is happening on their wards and pledge that no member of staff will suffer victimisation when they do speak out.
Dr Peter Carter is chief executive & general secretary, Royal College of Nursing
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