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Speaking Up

How staff can raise concerns about how we are treating out patients, the services we deliver and how we behave towards each other

It is important that our staff feel able to raise concerns, especially where there may be patient harm or safety issues.

We have developed a Speaking Up Policy to help anyone raise a concern. It combines two earlier policies on whistleblowing and Freedom to Speak Up.

All staff at TeamQEH have a duty to raise concerns if we think something is inadequate, unacceptable, or unsafe and we want our workforce to feel confident that their voice will be heard without fear of any repercussion. Speaking Up is the common term applied to these situations.

We want to create a welcoming culture at QEH where we always put patients first, where staff feel valued and comfortable speaking up knowing they will be listened to and where kindness is the norm. This includes all staff, agency staff, volunteers, contractors, suppliers and external bodies.

The main areas we would expect you to raise a concern include:

  • Unsafe patient care
  • Unsafe patient practice
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Malpractice and professional misconduct
  • Inadequate induction or training of staff
  • Lack of, or poor response to a reported patient safety incident
  • Suspicions of fraud (which can also be reported to our local counter fraud team by contacting our switchboard and asking to speak to our Local Counter Fraud Specialist)
  • A bullying culture across a team, service, or the Trust, rather than in individual instances.
  • Who can I tell?

    Staff can raise concerns with and ask for advice and support from:

  • Their line manager
  • The Divisional Leadership Teams (for Medicine, Urgent and Emergency Care, Surgery, Women and Children and Clinical Support Services)
  • Their Matron, Ward Manager, Head of Service or Clinical Director
  • The Executive Team (the Trustís directors and senior management)
  • Their union representative
  • Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and Champions

    Katy Whicker is our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian who is assisted by Julie Calton and our Freedom to Speak Up Champions across QEH. They are here to help staff to speak up. They are from different divisions, staff groups and areas of the hospital and they will act as role models for creating an open, honest and transparent culture. Katy regularly discusses cases she handles with the Executive Team and other senior managers. There is also a confidential helpline 07966 881840.

    Please note that the Speaking Up policy does not cover individual cases of bullying or harassment (please refer to the Mutual Respect and Dignity at Work Policy) or concerns about your rights as an employee (please refer to the Grievance Policy).


    Members of staff and their colleagues can refer to the Trust's Speaking Up policy, which incorporates Whistleblowing, if they wish to raise concerns.

    You can also sign the government petition that calls on protection for whistleblowers.