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Nurse whistleblowers silenced, survey shows

Nurse whistleblowers silenced, survey shows

Whistleblowers silenced, survey shows

A quarter of nurses who raise concerns about patient care are being silenced according to a new survey. 

Despite the inquiry into the failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey showed many nurses are still living in a culture of intimidation. 

The survey of 8,262 nurses found that 45% of nurses who raised concerns said their employer took no action.  

Around the same amount (44%) said worries about being victimised would make them think twice about whistle blowing. 

“These responses illustrate that despite the recent attention which has been drawn to the importance of whistle blowing, many nurses are still experiencing a culture of fear and intimidation if they try to speak out,” said RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter. 

He added: “One of the key lessons from the Francis report was that frontline staff must feel confident that they can raise concerns about patient safety without fear of reprisals.”

Of the nurses who had raised concerns, nearly half (46%) had done so in the last six month, and nearly one in ten nurses (8%) raised concerns in the last week. 

Just under half (48%) of the concerns were about staffing levels, and more than one in give (21%) were about patient safety. 

Yet many nurses (65%) seemed unaware that their organisation had a whistleblowing policy, with over a third (37%) unaware that there is legal protection for employees who raise concerns. 

Dr Peter Carter said: “Staff know what is safe for their patients and what is not. 

“However, they cannot raise concerns if they feel unsure about what their employer’s policy is or what the repercussions will be.” 

The RCN runs a dedicated whistleblowing hotline for its members and has also recently updated guidance on raising concerns.


I have very recently been suspended from practice because I had witnessed a senior nurse make a serious drug error. I was intimidated and bullied by the senior nurse so much so that I decided to take it further and approached the acting matron. However, instead of there being an informal meeting and resolution regarding the situation, the whole incident was twisted and they turned against me. I was later informed that both the acting Matron and senior sister were very close friends and that I should never have gone to them. I was then ganged upon by these two and a health support worker who is also friends with them, and within 3 days was removed from practice for allegedly swearing in a public area. I am in the final months of a 3 year degree and am due to qualify this July. There were things that I witnessed on that ward that were horrific and I feel they have suspended me unfairly and unjustly because I questioned something that was undoubtedly wrong….
I would appreciate all constructive help possible as I am in a very vulnerable situation and concerned that I might be failed because I whistle blew

I have had an incident whereby I reported a colleague and then told that they would be monitored. the colleague then raised the issue that they felt they were being bullied by myself and I was looked into so no I dont feel that satff who raise concerns are protected or supported

I have raised concerns in a letter regarding staffing levels and threating letters regarding mandatory training. I have had a 2 and half hour meeting with my manager, I choose to do this as informal but have assured them if things do not improve I will take it to an informal level. I will continue to be a pack leader as management like to think! I will raise concerns regarding unsafe numbers and patient safety. I will use their policy regarding whistle blowing to its advantage if I feel its necessary. but it is very stressful and grinds you down, it is not for the faint hearted and I have witnessed people being hounded when they don't conform, I stand up for these staff but it is very hard. I love my Job but hate the politics and targets at times.

Dammed if you do and dammed if you do not voice your concerns. NMC code of conduct!!
There will always be a nurse to hang to solve the problems but never senior management to take responsibility for the true route causes of these problems.

I agree, we are always saying that were we work. If there is a problem there is always a scapegoat, someone to blame so that management do not have to take any responsibility for what is usually down to them.
We are in the front line,so to speak, why don't they listen?
I have been a nurse for 35 years and am now getting to the stage that I dread having to go into work knowing what I am going to have to face.
Such a shame it has come to this.

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