In Freedom to Speak Up, Sir Robert concluded that people who work in primary care are a ‘vulnerable group’ when it comes to raising concerns. Workplaces are much smaller than NHS Trusts, for example, making it harder to raise concerns outside of line management arrangements. Furthermore, staff in primary care may be raising concerns directly about their employer.
Sir Robert asked NHS England to consider how the Freedom to Speak Up principles would need to be adapted for primary care organisations.
We have listened to organisations representing whistleblowers as well as those representing different parts of primary care. We have recognised that the sector is diverse: some primary care organisations are large and work in federated structures, whilst others are small and include single GP practices.
Moreover, there are important differences between sectors, for example general practice and dentistry. We believe this guidance expresses the spirit and intent of the Freedom to Speak Up vision. It draws on the integrated policy for raising concerns previously published by Monitor, the Trust Development Authority and NHS England and recognises existing arrangements and good practice in different parts of primary care.