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The big question: will the Speaking Up charter encourage nurses to blow the whistle on poor practice?


A whistleblowing charter has been launched to support staff when raising patient safety concerns.

The charter has been signed by health unions, employers and regulators, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the royal colleges of nursing and midwives, Unison, Unite and NHS Employers.

The organisations have signed up to six commitments:

  • To work in partnership with other organisations to develop a positive culture by promoting openness, transparency, fairness, reporting and learning as an important and integral part of providing safer patient and public care;
  • To adhere to the principles of this charter to foster a culture of openness which supports staff to raise concerns;
  • To share expertise to create effective ways of breaking down barriers to reporting incidents and concerns early on;
  • To exchange information, where it is appropriate and lawful to do so, in the interest of patient and public safety;
  • To signpost individuals to support and guidance to ensure that they are fully aware of and understand their protected rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA);
  • To seek to highlight issues where current law or regulations may restrict those who wish to raise a concern about a human error.

What impact will the charter have on whistleblowing?  

Add your comments and they could be published in the magazine.


Readers' comments (2)

  • As it stands, it's simply a collection of platitudes and worthy intentions and likely to prove useless.

    Nurses are simply prevented from whistleblowing on bad care and bad conduct because they know there will be repercussions for them as individuals which will probably result in rapid unemployment & vicious reprisals. They also have no confidence that there will be any investigation or changes in practice.

    These are realistic concerns. Most NHS management is about giving the right impression, not about doing the right thing. Whistleblowing is seen as giving a bad impression, so their response is to silence the messenger and cover problems up.

    I speak from bitter experience. I can't see anything in these proposals which would've helped me or my patients.

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  • In consideration that there have been many incidences of breaches in confidentiality due to acts of whistleblowing regardless of PIDA and the other "commitments" expressed above, i doubt very much that regardless of this proposal nothing will change. In my opinion, too little too late !

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