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GP Practices Told to Appoint ‘Whistleblowing Guardians’

New NHS England guidance put in place to support whistleblowers states that all primary care providers should instate a named individual as their ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardian’ by September 2017.

The move comes in response to recommendations made by the Freedom to Speak Up Review, an independent report on the NHS’s reporting culture led by Sir Robert Francis QC which saw a large number of responses come from primary care staff.

The report says the focus on primary care has come about because some staff can feel concerned about whistleblowing due to of the small size of some practices, and the fact that any concerns they raise may be about someone who is their direct employer.

The creation of the new ‘whistleblowing guardian’ role is intended to ensure staff have a person outside of the management structure to raise concerns to, with the guidance specifying that the guardian should be ‘an individual who is independent of the line management chain and is not the direct employer’.  The measures will work alongside the existing Being Open framework, which encourages a culture of openness and honesty in the handling of staff concerns.

Practices are also asked to ensure their policies and procedures are updated by the September 2017 deadline to include reference to the named individual and Freedom to Speak Up guidance. First Practice Management members can rest assured that we will be updating our suite of draft policies to include the relevant details and information in advance of that date.

Has your GP practice appointed a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian yet? Head to our Policy and Procedure Library to download FPM’s Whisteblowing Policy for more information.


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