The NMC has started work on revising its guidance on whistleblowing for nurses and midwives.
Last week the regulator held talks on the issue with representatives from the main nursing unions – including UNISON, the RCN, RCM and Unite/CPHVA – and the independent body Public Concern at Work.
The talks focused on how nurses were often discouraged from whistleblowing by fears it could have a negative effect on their career, and the need for ‘clearer signposts’ on how to go about whistleblowing correctly and with confidence.
The move follows the high-profile cases of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and Margaret Haywood, the nurse struck off in April for breaking patient confidentiality while filming undercover for the BBC’s Panorama programme.
Commenting on the meeting, Christina McKenzie, NMC head of midwifery, said: ‘As a result of this meeting, we will develop information for nurses and midwives setting out the options for escalating concerns appropriately, in a way that is safe for patients and the public, and in a way that will not bring them into conflict with their code [of conduct].
‘There was also consensus about the need to involve other stakeholders including patient’s groups and employers of nurses and midwives across the NHS, independent and voluntary sectors,’ she added. ‘We are addressing the matter with urgency.’