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Managers must protect staff who complain

29 June 2015

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Managers must ensure that any staff who raise concerns are protected from unfair criticism, detriment or dismissal, guidance from regulators, released today, says.

If something has gone wrong with a patient’s care the health professional will need to speak to the patient, or someone close to them as soon as possible, and apologise, explain what happened, what can be done if they have suffered harm, and what will be done to prevent this happening again in the future.

The guidance was created jointly by the General Medical Council (GMC) and Nursing Medical Council (NMC) and said that health professionals will need to report errors early and not try to prevent colleagues or former colleagues from raising concerns about patient safety.

“We also want to send out a clear message to employers and clinical leaders – none of this will work without an open and honest learning culture, in which staff feel empowered to admit mistakes and raise concerns,” Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said.

All managers, nurses, midwives and doctors practising in the UK will be expected to follow this guidance that aims to create a more open, transparent NHS culture and help patients understand what to expect from health professionals.

Jackie Smith, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who created the guidance with the GMC, said: “We can’t stop mistakes from happening entirely and we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. The test is how individuals and organisations respond to those instances, and the culture they build as a result.”