- I need to speak up – what do I do?
- What can I speak up about?
- How do I get in touch?
- Can I give information anonymously or in confidence?
- Who can speak up to NHS England?
- Sources of advice and support
When a concern feels serious because it might affect patients, people receiving care, colleagues or your whole organisation, it can be difficult to know what to do. You may feel that raising the matter would be disloyal to colleagues, to managers or to your organisation.
However, everyone working in healthcare has a duty to put patients and the people they care for first and protect their safety, and follow any professional code of conduct that applies to them. We would always encourage you to try to resolve any concern you have within your organisation first. Your organisation may have a Freedom to Speak up guardian who has been trained to support you to speak up. The National Guardian’s Office has a list of all trained Freedom to Speak up guardians. Alternatively your organisation may have a whistleblowing or speak up policy which provides information on how you can speak up safely. For whatever reason, if you feel unable to do this, you can speak to our Freedom to Speak Up team at NHS England.
You can speak up about anything that gets in the way of patient care or affects your working life.
We have learnt that in staying silent and not raising concerns things can get worse over time, so if in doubt, please raise it.
It does not matter if you are mistaken as there may be a reasonable explanation for your concerns. Where issues are not covered by our remit, we will advise you of the reasons why and ensure you are supported to speak up to the most appropriate organisation. We are committed to providing a confidential service in supporting you.
You can contact us by letter, telephone or email.
PO Box 16738
Redditch B97 9PT
Telephone: 0300 311 22 33
It is best to raise your concern openly with us because that makes it easier for us to follow it up. We will not disclose your identity without your consent unless there are legal reasons that require us to do so.
This might be, for example, where your information is about a child or vulnerable adult who is at risk, or where there is a possible criminal offence. If this is the case, we may have to tell the police or another official body, or if required to do so by a court. We will let you know if we have to do this and that this will identify you to another body.
You can give us information anonymously. However, please note that if we cannot communicate with you we will be unable to discuss your concern or ask you for further information, and we won’t be able to give you any feedback about any action we take.
Anyone who works in NHS healthcare, including pharmacy, optometry and dentistry. This encompasses any healthcare professionals, clinical and non-clinical workers, receptionists, directors, managers, contractors, volunteers, students, trainees, junior doctors, locum, bank and agency workers, and former workers.
For further information about how to speak up to NHS England, you can access our policy here: NHS England external Freedom to Speak Up policy for NHS workers
Speak Up Direct: Speak Up Direct offers free, independent, confidential advice on the speaking up process.
Telephone: 08000 724 725
Protect: Protect is a charity that provides free, legal, and confidential whistleblowing advice to people who are concerned about wrongdoing at work and not sure whether, or how, to raise their concern.