Raising concerns: new guidance supports nurses to speak up
NHS Wales Speaking Up Safely Framework aims to ensure staff can report issues without fear of repercussions, are listened to, and receive a timely and appropriate response
The Welsh Government has instructed all NHS employers in Wales to build or improve speaking up processes following the conviction of nurse Lucy Letby.
Guidance on raising concerns and whistleblowing was published on 14 September in a bid to support NHS staff in the country to report issues in the workplace without fear of repercussions.
Health boards urged to act swiftly
The NHS Wales Speaking Up Safely Framework, developed with trade unions, employers, managers and staff, includes new requirements to appoint a non-executive Speaking Up Safely Champion and an executive lead at each health board.
The Welsh Government said the framework’s publication follows the conviction of Letby for the murder of seven babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital, as well as a survey by the British Journal of Surgery on sexual harassment in surgical settings, which revealed widespread sexual misconduct.
The government has written to all health boards urging them to action the guidance as a priority.
‘Speaking up is a brave and vulnerable thing to do’
Minister for health and social services Eluned Morgan said: ‘Recent events have been a stark reminder of how vital it is that everyone working in the NHS feels safe and confident to speak up about anything that gets in the way of delivering safe, high-quality care.
‘Speaking up and bringing issues and concerns into the open is a brave and vulnerable thing to do, and NHS managers must be willing to listen, deal with concerns appropriately and be open to constructive challenge.’
Details of the new guidance
The aim of the new framework is to ensure all individuals have a voice, are listened to, and receive a timely and appropriate response.
The framework gives a list of requirements for NHS health boards to complete, including adequate investment in the speaking up programme, regular reviews of responses, and continuous and consistent promotion of speaking up culture.
Ms Morgan added: ‘I am committed to creating a culture where speaking up is welcomed and seen as an opportunity to listen, learn and improve. The introduction of this framework will assist in driving this change and ensure that workplaces are safe, respectful and inclusive for all employees.’
Speaking up policies to be made stronger in England
In England the Westminster government has vowed to have strengthened freedom to speak up policies in place in the NHS by January 2024 in light of the Letby case. It has instructed NHS trusts to ensure all staff have information on how to contact their local Freedom to Speak Up guardians.
Read the guidance document
In other news