Blackpool staff still wary of NHS whistleblowing scheme

Staff raised 32 concerns
Staff raised 32 concerns
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Staff working at Blackpool hospitals raised 32 concerns with their bosses during the last three months as part of a national NHS whistle-blowing scheme.

Figures presented to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital board show 16 of the complaints related to patient safety, while 14 were in connection with incidents of bullying and harrassment.

The overall figure was in line with the average for the hospital trust since the scheme was introduced nationally by the government in 2015, and is down from 37 during the previous three months.

Concerns included waiting times and patient safety but only one had been a direct result of actual patient harm which the meeting heard had been addressed 'immediately'.

There had also been an increase in senior managers raising concerns around staffing levels.

But it was felt staff were still cautious about pointing the finger with anonymity requested in almost every case.

Terri Vaselli, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian for the Trust, said: "Within the nursing teams there are fears they will be ostracised.

"It doesn't matter how much I reassure them, the fear factor is still there."

Executive director Mary Whyham said: "I went round the wards and was impressed by how many people were aware of Freedom to Speak Up, and I tried to reassure people there is confidentiality."

Freedom to Speak up was introduced by the government to ensure staff in the NHS could raise concerns about bad practice without the fear of being ostracised.