Responding to the 2020 Staff Survey for the NHS in England, Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE, National Guardian for the NHS said:

“We welcome the inclusion of a specific question in the NHS Staff Survey about whether staff feel safe to speak up about concerns.

“This is why Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are so important to offer a safe, confidential and impartial alternative channel for workers to speak up to.

“The fact that nearly a third of those who responded do not feel safe to speak up shows that there needs to be a more consistent approach from senior leadership throughout the health system to ensure that all workers are thanked, supported and listened to whenever they speak up.

“It is of particular concern that workers from minority ethnic backgrounds or with long-term health conditions feel more vulnerable when speaking up. Our survey of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians details some of the work which guardians are doing to address the barriers faced by those groups and others.”