December 5 – Nurses are being discouraged from raising concerns – in spite of widespread recognition of the important of whistle-blowing, it was claimed today. Most nurses say they have raised concerns – but about half the time this does not lead to action, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
The RCN says the situation seems to have worsened in the last two years – when it did a similar survey. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has issued guidance that encourages whistle-blowing – after striking off a nurse for blowing the whistle several years ago. And the Mid-Staffordshire public inquiry finished taking evidence this week and is likely to highlight the extent to which authorities failed to take on board concerns from staff and patients’ families.
The RCN surveyed more than 3,000 members on the subject and found that 34 per cent say they have been discouraged from reporting concerns – compared with 21 per cent two years ago.
And just 35 per cent say they are confident their employer would protect them if they speak up – compared with 46 per cent two years ago.
More than 80 per cent said they had raised concerns – an increase from 63 per cent two years ago.
RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: “It is extremely worrying that nurses are being explicitly told not to raise concerns – after all we have learnt about the consequences when problems are not tackled.
“Cases such as the terrible situation that arose at Stafford hospital, precipitating a major public enquiry, should be adequate warning about the consequences of slashing staffing levels and ignoring staff concerns.
“It’s very important that when we know 56,000 posts are at risk in the NHS, staffing levels across the board don’t lead to another disaster.”
He added: “This is yet more evidence that nurses have genuine concerns that they will be victimised if they speak up. All too often, they’re right.”
Source: Englemed Newsroom