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Speak Out Safely

Speak Out Safely - protecting staff who raise concerns

One of the major findings of the Francis inquiry into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was that staff who raised concerns about patient care were not taken seriously. Some were even bullied and threatened, and received no protection from their employer.

The situation at Mid Staffs is far from unique – many staff working for the NHS and other healthcare providers have raised concerns within their organisations and have suffered personally and/or professionally. They have been bullied by colleagues, discredited by their employers or even lost their jobs.

Nursing Times want to help ensure that healthcare providers listen to, support and value staff who raise concerns about the quality of care, and learn from the issues they raise and NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG supports this campaign.

The Speak Out Safely (SOS) campaign aims to encourage NHS organisations and independent healthcare providers to develop cultures that are honest and transparent, to actively encourage staff to raise the alarm when they see poor practice, and to protect them when they do so.

Nursing Times want:

  1. The government to introduce a statutory duty of candour compelling health professionals and managers to be open about care failings
  2. Trusts to sign up to the campaign, making a public commitment to supporting staff who raise concerns
  3. The government to undertake a wholesale review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act, to ensure whistleblowers who take concerns outside their organisation if they are not taken seriously internally are fully protected


CCG Support to the Speak out Safely Campaign

NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has become one of the first CCGs in England to show support and sign up to this campaign.

In a joint statement of support towards the campaign, Dr Paul Bowen, Clinical Chair of the CCG and Sally Rogers, Chief Nurse on the CCG Governing Body said:


GP Paul Bowen        Sally Rogers    


“At NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG we are committed to commissioning services that deliver high quality, patient centred care. Working alongside our member practices, local Trusts and third sector partners, we wish to make the delivery of the ‘Compassion in Practice’  vision a reality.”

“We believe safe care is fundamental to achieving high quality care and will challenge all aspects of care which do not follow this principle. We are committed to ensuring there are robust monitoring arrangements in place with our providers to effect timely and proficient resolution where concerns are raised around patient and carer safety, dignity and care.  Moreover, we have the courage to stand by the decisions we make and support our colleagues across the wider health and social care system to do the same.”

“As a CCG, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the principles of upholding a duty of care for our citizens. Through our leadership of the Caring Together programme we are instrumental in helping to shape the culture of care across Eastern Cheshire. This is a culture where health and social care staff feel empowered, and supported, to speak up on behalf of people directly or indirectly in their care, that this is seen as part of their everyday role and just as raising genuine concerns represents good practice, ‘doing nothing’ and failing to report concerns is unacceptable."

“We actively encourage CCG and member practice staff to speak out if they have any concerns about how fellow staff, visitors or patients that they come into contact with are being treated.  We have ensured that our whistleblowing policy clearly highlights that any member of staff raising a concern will be treated without prejudice or detriment to their career.  Indeed, the CCG welcome their support in raising concerns and we will support them, fully investigate and, if appropriate, act on their concern.”

In support of the campaign the CCG has signed up to the following pledge:

Clinical commissioning group pledge

This clinical commissioning group supports the principles of the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign. This means we believe that every member of our staff, our member practices and the staff employed by those health and care organisations that we commission to deliver high-quality services for our citizens, should feel able to raise concerns about wrongdoing or poor practice when they see it and are confident that their concerns will be addressed in a constructive way.

Ensuring that high-quality and appropriate care is available to our citizens is our primary responsibility. We acknowledge that the staff who come into everyday contact with our citizens (patients, carers) are often best placed to identify where care may be falling below the standard our citizens deserve and we expect. In order to ensure our high standards continue to be met, we will work on two fronts:

  • we will ensure that the systems and culture is in place within our own organisation where every member of our staff feels able to raise concerns with their line manager, or another member of the management team.
  • we will work closely with the providers of the services we commission to receive assurance that everyone in their organisations feels able to highlight wrongdoing or poor practice when they see it or are informed of it, and are confident that their concerns will be addressed in a constructive way. We will seek assurance that where a member of their staff identifies a genuine safety concern for our citizens, they will be supported, a full investigation will be undertaken and, if appropriate, act on their concern.


Downloadble Resources

Sign the SOS e-petition here:

You can download PDF template letters urging organisations to sign up to the SOS campaign:

SOS Letter from a group

SOS Letter from an individual


Further Information

For further information the campaign, please visit the Nursing Times website:

For information on which NHS Trust's have signed up please click here

For further information about the CCGs response to the Francis Report, please click here

To view the CCG whistleblowing policy please click here