Today we have published the latest Annual Data Report, which analyses the themes and learning from the speaking up data shared by Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.

There are over 700 Freedom to Speak Up Guardians supporting healthcare workers to speak up about anything which impacts on their ability to do their job.  The number of cases brought to them last year represent a 26 percentage point increase on the previous year (16,199 cases). Freedom to Speak Up Guardians have handled over 50,000 cases since the National Guardian’s Office first started collecting data in 2017.

Over twenty thousand (20,388) cases were raised with Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in 2020/21, a 26-percentage point increase from 2019/20.

Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE, National Guardian for the NHS, said, In this time of crisis, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians made sure that workers knew they were still listening and still there to support them. Over 84% of workers who gave feedback said that they would speak up again.

“In the past five years, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians have handled over 50,000 cases. That is 50,000 opportunities for organisations to learn and improve. The impact of the work of guardians is outstanding and has moved the dial on the speaking up culture in the NHS and the whole healthcare sector.

 “Yet, just as we see improvements, the pandemic has also highlighted how much more needs to be done. When leaders listen and act, great improvements can be made. Conversely, when leaders are defensive or victimise workers who speak up, it has a chilling effect on the whole system, putting patients and workers at risk of harm.”


Read the Annual Speaking Up Data Report for 2020 to 2021

Read the Press Release