What is ‘Speaking Up’?
Speaking up is about anything that gets in the way of
providing good care.
When things go wrong, we need to make sure that lessons are learned,
and things are improved. If we think something might go wrong, it’s important
that we all feel able to speak up so that potential harm is prevented. Even
when things are good, but could be even better, we should feel able to say
something and should expect that our suggestion is listened to and used as an
opportunity for improvement. Speaking up is about all of these things.
Is speaking up the same as ‘whistleblowing’?
You can speak up about anything that gets in the way of
delivering safe and high-quality care or affects your experience in the
workplace. It is something that should happen as ‘business as usual’. Speaking
up may take many forms including a quick discussion with a line manager, a
suggestion for improvement, raising an issue with a Freedom to Speak Up
Guardian, or bringing a matter to the attention of a regulator. Some people may
interpret all or some of these actions as ‘whistleblowing’, others may only
associate ‘whistleblowing’ with something that is ‘formal’, or a matter that is
escalated outside an organisation, or to describe something that may qualify
for ‘protection’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. Speaking up is
about all of these things.
Who can speak up?
Speaking Up policies and processes are here to support
workers. This includes any healthcare professionals, non-clinical staff,
senior, middle and junior managers, volunteers, students, bank and agency
staff, and former employees. There are other routes for patients and their
families to raise matters of concern or to make suggestions for improvement,
including Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) and the Complaints Service
If I want to speak up about something, what should I do?
Usually your line manager will be your first point of call,
but if you don’t feel you can speak up to them or use other formal routes, then
you should refer to your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, who will be
able to offer guidance and support.
Why were Freedom to Speak Up Guardians created?
The role of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian was created in
response to recommendations made in Sir Robert Francis’ report “The Freedom to
Speak Up” (2015). These recommendations were made as Sir Robert found that NHS
culture did not always encourage or support workers to speak up, and that
patients and workers suffered as a result. Further information on the Francis
Report can be found here.
What is a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian?
Freedom to Speak Up Guardians support workers to speak up
when they feel that they are unable to do so by other routes. Guardians also
work proactively to support their organisation to tackle barriers to speaking
Contact your FTSUG via email at email@example.com or by phone on 07557 287749 or see the national directory for FTSUGs across England, by clicking here.