Speaking to ITV News, Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said sometime things will go wrong in the NHS. But it was important to create a culture where it can be put right.
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.
This is putting patient safety at risk. 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.
Nursing staff want to provide excellent care, but sometimes the systems they work in do not allow this. 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.
– Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN
The Royal College of Nursing says a quarter of nurses have been discouraged about blowing the whistle on concerns over patient care, in spite of the Stafford Hospital scandal. A survey found 24% of nurses said they had been warned off raising concerns.
The nursing union says the figures reveal a "culture of fear and intimidation" at work.