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Monitor, the Trust Development Authority (TDA) and NHS England have run an eight-week consultation on a new freedom to speak up whistleblowing policy for the NHS, designed to help standardise and normalise the raising of concerns. It also sets out a vision of what it should feel like for staff when they raise a public interest concern.
It is intended that the policy should be adopted by all NHS organisations in England except by primary care in the first instance. Monitor, TDA and NHS England also hope it will be used by independent providers of NHS healthcare.
Following extensive engagement with employers, NHS Employers has put forward the following key points:
· A large number of NHS trusts across the country have had whistleblowing policies in place for a considerable time - an integrated policy will be important to ensure that a national minimum standard is set and applied across the country.
· We know from our employer engagement that NHS organisations are committed to improving their local culture around raising concerns - we welcome the approach that the policy is intended to underpin pre-existing processes and will not inhibit the learning and good practice that organisations have put in place so far.
· A national policy alone will not build the trust and confidence of staff - we are keen to encourage the sharing of learning and good practice in relation to staff engagement and improving staff experience through effective culture.
· Whilst employers are supportive of a clearly recognised term for the policy, we do have concerns about the use of whistleblowing and would encourage consideration to be made to ensure it sets the right tone and supports organisations to build on local progress.
Monitor, the TDA and NHS England will consider the responses made to the consultation and publish a final version of the policy. We will advise employers when it is made available. For further information on raising concerns and resources please visit NHS Employers’ Raising concerns at work (whistleblowing) section.