Raising a concern with NHS England

On 1 April 2016, NHS England became a ‘Prescribed Person’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Order 1999, meaning staff working at GP surgeries, opticians, community pharmacies and dental practices can raise concerns about patient safety or inappropriate activity with us.

This provides another source for NHS employees across England to raise concerns and disclosures about their workplace in circumstances where a direct approach to their employer is not favoured, suitable or appropriate.

I need to raise a concern. What do I do?

When a concern feels serious because it might affect patients or 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 follow their professional code of conduct, and put patients and the people they care for first and protect their safety.

We would always encourage you to try to resolve any concern you have within your organisation first.

If you feel unable to do so, you can speak to NHS England.

What types of concerns can I raise?

You can raise a concern about risk, malpractice or wrongdoing you think is harming the service your organisation delivers.  Examples of a concern which NHS England can investigate include:

  • Concerns about unsafe patient care;
  • Poor clinical practice or other malpractice which may harm patients;
  • Failure to safeguard patients;
  • Maladministration of medications;
  • Untrained staff;
  • Unsafe working conditions;
  • Lack of policies;
  • A bullying culture;
  • Staff who are unwell or stressed and not seeking help.

Advice and support

If you are unsure about whether your concern is genuine, you can also contact the NHS Whistleblowing Helpline for the NHS and social care, Public Concern at Work, your professional body or trade union representative.

NHS Whistleblowing Helpline

The Whistleblowing Helpline is a free-phone service for employees, and organisations working within the NHS and social care sector.

Telephone: 08000 724 725 | Web: www.wbhelpline.org.uk  | Email: enquiries@wbhelpline.org.uk

Public Concern at Work

PCaW is a charity that provides free, confidential legal advice to people who are concerned about wrongdoing at work and not sure whether, or how, to raise their concern.

Telephone: 020 7404 6609 | Web: www.pcaw.org.uk | Email: whistle@pcaw.org.uk

Can I give information anonymously or in confidence?

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 if you wish give us information anonymously. However, note that we won’t be able to contact you 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.

How do I get in touch?

You can contact us by telephone, email or letter. Please tell us that you are raising a concern and that you are a worker who is either employed by, or providing services to, general practice, dental practice, local pharmacy or opthalmology.

NHS England
PO Box 16738
Redditch B97 9PT
Tel: 0800 072 4725 | enquiries@wbhelpline.org.uk