When Sir Robert Francis published Freedom to Speak Up, he recommended primary care be reviewed separately. NHS England with contributions from stakeholders has drafted whistleblowing policy guidance specifically for primary care.

The consultation ended on 6 May 2016 and the responses will help inform the final policy, due later this year.

The intention is that the guidance should be used by primary care organisations to review their policies and procedures on staff raising concerns about safety.

The policy sets out:

  • who can raise a concern
  • the process for raising a concern
  • how the concern will be investigated
  • what will be done with the findings of the investigation

From 1 April, NHS England is a ‘prescribed person’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Order 1999, meaning primary care service staff working at GP surgeries, opticians, pharmacies and dental practices, can raise concerns about inappropriate activity directly.

NHS Improvements, formerly Monitor and NHS Trust Development Authority respectively, have published the guidance for whistleblowing in the NHS along with the stakeholder responses from a period of consultation late last year.