Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP was today joined by senior representatives from trade unions, patient groups, royal colleges and other representative healthcare bodies in a Whistleblowing Summit. This Summit was organised by the NHS Employers organisation to identify collective ways to help staff raise concerns and support whistleblowing, which is crucial to the safety and care of patients.


Speaking at the Summit, Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, added:


“The NHS Constitution clearly states that the health service is committed to supporting all staff in raising concerns about patient safety or wrongdoing. These are values to which we all subscribe.


“NHS employers have worked hard locally to create a culture that encourages staff to report misconduct or malpractice without fear of victimisation. But we fully recognise that there is still much more to be done to reassure staff and patients that organisations take very seriously any reports of practices that put care at risk. We all want to encourage staff to report concerns at an early stage when it is easier to resolve them.


“The Summit provides a very productive opportunity to agree steps forward towards an NHS where everyone feels confident to raise concerns if there are any issues that may affect patient care or safety. Whistleblowing policies and practices to support staff have improved in NHS organisations. However the NHS Staff Survey itself reveals that many staff still are not confident their organisation will support them and act upon concerns raised. This is a crucial issue that is best addressed by working in partnership.”


Speaking at the Summit, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:


“Patient Safety is our number one concern; and every member of NHS staff should feel empowered to raise any concerns, but some, too many, don’t – that’s why we want staff to feel comfortable to report concerns.


“We have set up a free helpline so staff can get advice on how to raise concerns. And we have made it absolutely clear through changes to the NHS Constitution that those who speak up should be supported by their employers. We want staff to feel confident that if there is a problem it will be addressed.”


Organisations represented at the NHS Whistleblowing Summit were: Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; British Dental Association; British Medical Association; Care Quality Commission; Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence; Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; Department of Health; General Medical Council; General Optical Council; General Osteopathic Council; General Pharmaceutical Council; Health Professions Council; Medical Protection Society; Mencap; Monitor; National Voices; NHS Confederation; NHS Employers; Nursing and Midwifery Council; Royal College of Midwives; Royal Pharmaceutical Society; Society of Radiographers; Unison and; Unite.