UK & World News
Nurses Who Raise Concerns 'Fear Consequences'
A majority of nurses who raise concerns over patient care believe they are being ignored or punished for speaking out, a survey has found.
Research for the magazine Nursing Times suggested that an NHS attitude of discouraging staff from reporting problems is putting patients at risk.
Many nurses are afraid of being labelled troublemakers or being ostracised by senior staff if they highlight concerns, the research found.
More than 800 nurses were questioned in the survey.
Half of nurses who had raised concerns about the NHS said they were not dealt with properly, while a third felt they were likely to face negative consequences or be ignored as a result of raising concerns.
The survey revealed that 84% of respondents had previously raised concerns about a colleague's practice or attitude - of which 23% said they had done so "several times" or "regularly", and 23% "at least once".
But of those who had raised such concerns, 52% said there had been no appropriate outcome as a result of speaking out and a similar percentage said doing so had led to them suffering negative consequences.
Almost 30% of nurses said being viewed as a troublemaker was the biggest barrier to speaking out, with inaction by managers cited by 23%.
Eight out of 10 nurses said the ability to raise concerns in the NHS could be a lot better.
Nursing Times editor Jenni Middleton said: "I have personally spoken to nurses who, having raised concerns, have been sidelined and ostracised by their employers, bullied and marginalised by their colleagues - and end up feeling ashamed and guilty, as well as concerned that their careers are over."
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the findings were "extremely worrying" and called for greater transparency.
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "We are determined that staff who have the courage and integrity to speak out in the interests of patient safety are protected and listened to."
He listed measures taken by the Government to support whistle-blowers in the NHS, such as funding a national helpline, and said the NHS Commissioning Board will be required, starting in April, to include a contractual duty of openness in all commissioning contracts.
"We are now considering the recommendations of the Francis Report in full and whether we need go further," he added, referring to the report on the care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust after an inquiry by Robert Francis QC.
Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said that while "enormous efforts" had been made by employers to encourage staff, more needed to be done.
what do you think?
An article on nurses and orange use a picture of two physios doing a walking assessment, pathetic orange! Lol
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "We are determined that staff who have the courage and integrity to speak out in the interests of patient safety are protected and listened to." So he says...but they have not done so before. Sorry, I don't believe a word of it.