Doncaster LMC – Supporting Your Freedom to Speak Up

Speaking up
Speaking up is about anything that gets in the way of providing good care.
When things go wrong, we need to make sure that lessons are learnt and things are improved. If we think something might go wrong, it’s important that we all feel able to speak up so that potential harm is prevented. Even when things are good, but could be even better, we should feel able to say something and should expect that our suggestion is listened to and used as an opportunity for improvement.

Workers can speak up about anything that gets in the way of high-quality effective care, or that affects their working life. Speaking up may take many forms including a quick discussion with a line manager, a suggestion for improvement submitted as part of a staff suggestion scheme, raising an issue with a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, or bringing a matter to the attention of a regulator.

Speaking up in your organisation
Speaking Up policies and processes are there to support workers. This includes any healthcare professionals, non-clinical staff, senior, middle and junior managers, volunteers, students, bank and agency staff, and former employees.

NHS organisations encourage staff to speak up and set out the steps they will take to get to the bottom of any concerns. The national Freedom to Speak Up Policy ensures that

– organisations will each appoint their own whistleblowing guardian, an independent and impartial source of advice to staff at any stage of raising a concern
– any concerns not resolved quickly through line managers are investigated
– investigations will be evidence-based and led by someone independent in the organisation, producing a report focused on learning lessons and improving care
– whistleblowers will be kept informed of the investigation’s progress
– high level findings are provided to the organisation’s board and the policy will be annually reviewed and improved

All NHS organisations in England must adopt the Freedom to Speak Up Policy as a minimum standard.

How to speak up
Your line manager will be your first point of call. If you don’t feel you can speak up to them or use other formal routes, then you should refer to your local Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, who will be able to offer guidance and support. Doncaster LMC are here to support you to speak up.

Freedom to Speak Up Guardian
Freedom to Speak Up Guardians support workers to speak up when they feel that they are unable to do so. They ensure that people who speak up are thanked, that the issues they raise are responded to, and make sure that the person speaking up receives feedback on the actions taken.

Support options
‘Speak Up’ helpline
Free, independent and confidential helpline for people working in NHS and Social Care organisations in England, operated by Social Enterprise Direct Limited on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.
You can contact them on 08000 724 725 or by completing their contact form.

A national charity which aims to protect society by encouraging speaking up in the workplace. It provides legally privileged advice to individuals, supports organisations with their speaking up arrangements and monitors legislative impact and campaigns for change.
You can contact them by calling 020 3117 2520 or by emailing

Doncaster LMC – Supporting Your Freedom to Speak Up