What is the National Guardian's Office?

The National Guardian’s Office and the role of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian were created in response to recommendations made in Sir Robert Francis QC’s report “The Freedom to Speak Up” (2015).

These recommendations were made as Sir Robert found that NHS culture did not always encourage or support workers to speak up, and that patients and workers suffered as a result.

The office leads, trains and supports a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in England and conducts case reviews of organisations when it appears that speaking up has not been handled according to best practice.

There are 600 guardians in NHS and independent sector organisations, national bodies and elsewhere that ensure workers can speak up about any issues impacting on their ability to do their job. The National Guardian’s Office also provides challenge and learning to the healthcare system as a whole as part of its remit.

Dr Henrietta Hughes

Who is the National Guardian?

Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE

Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE was appointed as the National Guardian in July 2016, a key recommendation from the Francis Inquiry.

She provides leadership and support to Freedom to Speak Up Guardians across England in national bodies, NHS and independent sector organisations to ensure that speaking up becomes business as usual. Previously a Medical Director at NHS England, Dr Hughes continues her clinical role as a GP in central London.

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