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Nurse whistleblowing cases up almost 70%

Bullying and patient safety among reasons for staff’s complaints to NHS freedom to speak up guardians

Bullying and patient safety among reasons for staff’s complaints to NHS freedom to speak up guardians

The number of whistleblowing claims made by nurses went up by 68% last year.

Nurses made 3,728 allegations in 2018/19, compared to 2,223 the previous year.

report by the independent National Guardian’s Office, found bullying and harassment in the NHS were a factor in 41% of total cases, with patient safety mentioned in 29% of staff complaints.

RCN England director Mike Adams said while it was reassuring nurses feel they can speak to whistleblower guardians, it is worrying if the increase indicated they felt unable to raise concerns with managers.

73%

The rise in cases across all NHS staff groups in 12,244

Source: National Guardian's Office

‘Healthcare organisations become safer when nursing staff are confident they won’t be treated unfairly for reporting circumstances that could compromise patient safety,’ he said.

National guardian Henrietta Hughes suggested the overall rise in cases from 7,087 in 2017/18 to 12,244 in 2018/19 was due to increased presence of freedom to speak up guardians in the NHS, rather than a real increase in problems to report.

However, she added more work needed to be to make speaking the norm.

Her report also revealed wide variation in prevalence of cases across employers: one trust had 270, while another recorded just one.


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