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National Guardian’s Office: Annual Report

Volume 673: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2020

The Government are committed to supporting the right of staff working in the NHS to speak up and raise concerns. This is a vital step towards ensuring patient safety and improving quality of services. It should be routine in the NHS. Our interim NHS people plan reinforces this commitment, setting out a vision to make the NHS the best place to work—a place where everyone feels they have the power and freedom to speak up.

As a Government we take the issue of speaking up extremely seriously and have introduced several sources of support for staff to help them raise concerns when they think something is not right.

In 2016, we established the independent national guardian to help drive positive cultural change across the NHS and make speaking up business as usual. As well as leading culture change, the national guardian also provides support and leadership to a network of over 500 local guardians—in every trust.

Today, I am laying in Parliament, on behalf the national guardian, the national guardian’s annual report for 2019. The report sets out the improved culture in the NHS, as well as the positive influence that the national guardian and the network of local freedom to speak up guardians are having. However, it also shows that there is still more to do. Copies are also being deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

We are committed to ensuring our NHS staff are encouraged and supported to raise anything that is impacting on their ability to provide the best possible care to patients, and the healthcare system is a place where concerns are valued, listened to and acted upon.

As a Government we will continue to work with the national guardian and others to do all we can to support NHS staff to raise concerns and make the NHS the best place to work.