Helping nurses speak up about their concerns in the NHS

Our podcast guest tells us how she wants to ensure nurses need not fear raising concerns, in her role as national guardian for freedom to speak up in the NHS

Nurse and national guardian for freedom to speak up in England’s NHS Jayne Chidgey-Clark
Nurse and national guardian for Freedom to Speak Up in England’s NHS Jayne Chidgey-Clark

The Lucy Letby case, which shocked the profession and nation, is a terrible reminder of why it must be made easier for nurses and other healthcare staff to raise concerns.

October is Speak Up month in the NHS, a campaign run by the National Guardian’s Office. The theme is breaking barriers, which focuses on removing the obstacles people believe prevent them from raising concerns at work.

Barriers NHS nurses face in speaking up, and what the national guardian’s office is doing about them

And speaking up is the subject of this latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast. Nurse and national guardian for Freedom to Speak Up in the NHS in England Jayne Chidgey-Clark addresses some of the challenges nurses face when deciding to raise concerns, particular the barriers experienced by nurses who have come to the UK from overseas, and what the National Guardian’s Office and NHS are doing to mitigate them.

Analysis of the latest NHS staff survey results by the National Guardian’s Office showed nurses are increasingly worried about raising concerns at work for fear of losing their jobs, and a growing feeling that speaking up in the NHS is futile.

In light of the Letby case, during which it emerged consultants’ fears about the children’s nurse went unaddressed for months, the government vowed to strengthen freedom to speak up policies across the health service. Ms Chidgey-Clark discusses whether a national policy could help staff feel more comfortable in raising concerns.

She also touches on her role as the national guardian and talks about the importance of nurses feeling like they have a voice and how to foster a culture that encourages people to speak up.

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