Culture of silence as NHS staff are scared to report problems, fearing repercussions | UK News

According to dozens of people contacted by Sky News, paramedics are afraid to speak out about the NHS crisis for fear of the consequences.

At the beginning of the year, we set up an email address for people to write their stories from the front lines of NHS.

Hundreds of people responded. But many of them said the same thing.

“Staff can see the problems in the NHS and some of them are such easy wins but as soon as anyone suggests anything or heaven forbid raised a complaint then career their end. So we all kept quiet,” wrote one medical officer.

A nurse in the North West of England said: ‘Please keep my name anonymous because I fear the consequences – nurses are always afraid to speak out.

Other organizations paint a similar picture.

Protect, a charity making noise, analyzed calls to their helpline last year and told us that of the 92 NHS staff contacted, 77% reported retaliation or be disadvantaged for speaking out.

A third (33%) said they were fired or felt compelled to resign after raising concerns.

The culture of silence in the NHS has long been seen as a problem.

If you are an NHS worker and would like to share your experience with us anonymously, please email [email protected]

In 2014, the government commissioned Robert Francis KC to write an independent report on how to address this issue.

His 2015 review of Freedom to Speak recommended the creation of a network – Defenders of Freedom to Speak – across the NHS, to encourage a culture of openness and reporting.

Dr Jayne Chidgey-Clark, NHS England Country Manager, told us: “I think at the moment there’s a lot of good work being done in a number of organizations to improve the culture of speaking up.

“But sadly, in some people, there is still an absolute fear of the consequences. It’s a real problem that we have to address right here in the NHS.”

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NHS staff survey data shows staff confidence in their ability to raise concerns is actually declining.

Last year’s survey found just 62 per cent of NHS staff felt safe voicing their concerns, down from 65 per cent in 2020, when the question was first asked.

In 2013, when a slightly different but similar question was asked, the figure was 72%.

‘It’s the 1984 version’

Speaking to us on condition of anonymity, one medical officer described the culture as Orwellian.

“In the past, we could say what we wanted in our crew room. It was a safe space. You can’t even speak in it now because someone is going to report,” they said. speak.

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“You’ll be called into an office and say, ‘Did you say that? You mean that?’ So no, there is no freedom to speak.

“It’s the 1984 version.”

NHS England said in a statement: “The NHS is committed to creating a positive work environment and it is absolutely unacceptable for any employee to feel silenced or unable to speak about issues affecting them. Acceptable.

“Every trust has a Guardian Freedom to Speak, and the NHS would encourage all colleagues to raise any concerns directly with them – whether it is about patient safety or well-being. their own personal interests.”


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