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'Fear and intimidation' in NHS

The Royal College of Nursing says nearly a quarter of nurses have been warned off raising concerns about patient care in the NHS - in spite of the Stafford Hospital scandal.

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Nurses still 'fear repercussions' over whistleblowing

One of the key recommendations made by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry chair, Robert Francis QC, was that concerns and complaints should be able to be raised "freely without fear".

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

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