Report praises the work of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians who have continued to support health workers to speak up throughout the pandemic
The National Guardian’s Office today publishes its Annual Report for 2020, highlighting the progress which has been made in Freedom to Speak Up in health and the impact of the pandemic on speaking up.
Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE, National Guardian for the NHS, said: “I am delighted to place our Annual Report before Parliament to illustrate the excellent work that Freedom to Speak Up Guardians have been doing, supporting workers to speak up throughout the pandemic and making a positive impact on the culture of their organisations.”
Throughout the extreme circumstances of the pandemic, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians continued to make themselves available to support workers. The report outlines the Pulse Surveys which the National Guardian’s Office undertook with Freedom to Speak Up Guardians to ascertain the impact of the pandemic on speaking up in their organisations.
In his foreword to the report, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, said: “I remain determined in my commitment to ensure that staff feel they can speak up and that their concerns will be taken seriously. I thank the National Guardian and the national network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, and every member of NHS staff who has spoken up, for helping to make our NHS safer.”
Dr Henrietta Hughes, National Guardian for the NHS, commented: “Our Annual Report highlights the distance we have come since the Freedom to Speak Up Review was published in 2015. But now we are at a tipping point. The Freedom to Speak Up network has grown because of the commitment and passion of guardians. But there is still much more to do and this requires all leaders to play their part.
“Principles from the Freedom to Speak Up Review are not being followed by all organisations. Regulators are mobilising and taking this more seriously but there is more to do to get a consistent and aligned response to speaking up. The pandemic has highlighted how much this matters to keep patients and workers safe.”
As the health landscape continues to evolve with the development of integrated care systems (ICS), speaking up needs to be at the heart of this transformation and across patient pathways. The report outlines how the National Guardian’s Office is working with primary care organisations and others to show how this can work at system level.
The report also features case studies from across England and different healthcare providers, sharing the experiences of people who have spoken up and the difference Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are making.
March 18, 2021