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Comment on government response to the freedom to speak up review

17 Jul 2015

Commenting on the Government response to the Freedom to Speak Up Review, the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“We welcome the announcement of plans to implement Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up Review. ‘Learning not Blaming’ rightly states that the NHS must improve, listen and learn from occasions when mistakes are made.

“The doctor’s first duty must always be to the patient rather than a colleague or a team. Expressing a concern is not always easy, but it is important that clinicians speak up when problems emerge. Establishing a robust and routine practice of using, interpreting and discussing data on quality and outcomes is central to the early detection and effective handling of system problems and performance concerns. 

“We agree that honesty and openness need to become the normal expectation throughout the NHS and we see the establishment of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role as a positive step in this direction. It is essential for the effective implementation of the Guardian role that there is accountability, oversight and full ownership of its responsibilities at senior local management level. We are concerned that the Government’s response does not go far enough in this regard.

“We hope this Review will help all NHS staff to play a role in creating an environment of trust and openness, where concerns can be raised, listened to and acted upon.”


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