NHS Trust Sets Up Whistleblowing Hotline

Trust Takes Action After Survey Found Problems With Complaints Procedures

28.04.2014

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust has set up a whistleblowing hotline to make internal complaints easier for employees to file.

The new service aims to resolve an issue that was found in an internal survey, as only 66 per cent of workers at Papworth Hospital felt confident enough to raise concerns with senior staff.

While this is above the national average of 45 per cent, bosses at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust have now sought to ensure that complaints are acted upon by setting up a hotline, reports Cambridge News.

Staff using the service will be asked to leave a voicemail message on the 24-hour line, before it is passed on to the trust's director, who will look at the issue internally and set up actions to make sure similar incidents do not happen again in the future.

Karen Webb, Royal College of Nursing director for the Cambridgeshire region, said: "We know a healthy working culture means nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff can freely voice concerns about safety issues in the expectation those concerns will be listened to, without recrimination, and acted upon.

"Sadly the NHS staff survey results show that while some trusts are doing well and are to be congratulated, most are a long way off having anything like a healthy safety culture."

A spokesperson for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust said they take staff views on patient safety very seriously and that the hotline is part of an attempt to improve lines of communication between doctors and executives.

The Department of Health has repeatedly encouraged NHS trusts to improve whistleblowing facilities for staff.

Poor communication between doctors, nurses and upper executives was partially to blame for the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust crisis, which saw hundreds of older people neglected by healthcare staff.

In 2011, the government announced a publicly-funded whistleblowing hotline for all NHS workers - 08000 724 725.

Expert Opinion
We welcome this action by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and hope that other Trusts follow suit to try and improve whistleblowing facilities for their staff.

“The Francis Inquiry into failures at Stafford Hospital highlighted the importance of staff being supported in raising concerns about poor standards of care amongst their colleagues. NHS staff at all levels should not feel scared to speak out when necessary and should not fear negative repercussions for themselves as a result.

“Whistleblowing should ensure any repeat complaints or serious allegations of negligence are investigated thoroughly to improve standards and ensure patients are being given the best possible care.”
Julie Lewis, Partner