When things go wrong, we need to make sure that lessons are learnt, and things are improved.

If we think something might go wrong, it’s important that we all feel able to speak up to stop potential harm.

Even when things are good, but could be even better, we should feel able to say something and be confident that our suggestion will be used as an opportunity for improvement.

About Speaking Up

Anyone can speak up

Freedom to Speak Up is for anyone who works in health. This includes any healthcare professionals, non-clinical workers, senior, middle and junior managers, volunteers, students, locum, bank and agency workers, and former employees.

Patients and their families who have concerns or suggestions for improvement, should contact Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS).

What can I speak up about?

You can speak up about anything that gets in the way of patient care, or that affects your working life.

That could be something which doesn’t feel right, for example a way of working or a process which isn’t being followed, or behaviours of others which you feel is having an impact on the well-being of you, the people you work with, or patients.

Speaking up is about all of these things.

We are collecting stories to show examples of the kinds of things people have spoken up about, and you can read some here.

How do I speak up?

There may be many ways to speak up within your organisation.

Speaking up may take many forms. It could be a quick discussion with a line manager, a suggestion for improvement submitted as part of a staff suggestion scheme, raising a matter with a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, or bringing an issue to the attention of a regulator.

You can speak up anonymously, confidentially, or openly. Find out more here.

To find out who to speak up to, click here.


Speaking up has no limitations – it is about anything which gets in the way of patient care and worker well-being.

The terms ‘whistleblowing’ and ‘speaking up’ are often used interchangeably. They can cover raising matters about a wide range of legal and ethical issues.

We are working to make speaking up business as usual. That means being able to speak up about anything – whether that’s something which doesn’t feel right or an idea for improvement. You should feel confident that your voice will be listened to and action taken.

The term ‘whistleblowing’ can have negative connotations which may be a barrier to speaking up.  Some people associate ‘whistleblowing’ with a formal process, or a matter that is escalated outside an organisation.

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