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NMC welcomes Robert Francis’s review into NHS whistleblowing

11 February 2015

The NMC has welcomed Robert Francis’s review into whistleblowing in the NHS: Freedom to Speak Up

“The freedom to speak up is vital for patient safety and public protection”

Nurses and midwives have a duty within the NMC Code to raise concerns about issues that risk patient safety. As the professional regulator, the NMC expects all nurses and midwives, no matter their job title or where they work, to uphold the Code and to prioritise patient safety.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“We want a health and care sector where all staff can safely raise concerns in the best interests of their patients. The freedom to speak up is vital for patient safety and public protection.

“We will take careful account of the review’s findings and recommendations. We are reviewing the policies and procedures that we have in place to make sure they provide the help and support that whistleblowers need when they speak out against a fellow nurse or midwife’s practice.”

The revised NMC Code, which will come into effect next month, is clear about nurses and midwives responsibility to raise any concerns they have about patient safety and act on concerns raised on them. They must not obstruct, intimidate or victimise those who wish to raise concerns.



Notes for editors

1.   The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public. We do this by ensuring that only those who meet our requirements are allowed to practise as a nurse or midwife in the UK. We take action if concerns are raised about whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise.

2.   The revised NMC Code states that nurses and midwives must act without delay if they believe that there is a risk to patient safety or public protection. To do this, they will:

   2.1.   Raise and, if necessary, escalate any concerns they may have about patient or public safety, or the level of care people are receiving in their workplace or any other healthcare setting and use the channels available to you in line with our guidance and their local working practices.

   2.2.   Raise their concerns immediately if they are being asked to practise beyond their role, experience and training tell someone in authority at the first reasonable opportunity if they experience problems that may prevent them working within the Code or other national standards, taking prompt action to tackle the causes of concern if they can.

   2.3.   Acknowledge and act on all concerns raised to them, investigating, escalating or dealing with those concerns where it is appropriate for them to do so.

   2.4     Not obstruct, intimidate, victimise or in any way hinder a colleague, member of staff, person you care for or member of the public who wants to raise a concern.

   2.5      Protect anyone they have management responsibility for from any harm, detriment, victimisation or unwarranted treatment after a concern is raised.

3.   The NMC is a member of Public Concern at Work’s First 100 campaign, to support people who raise concerns within the organisation.

4.   The NMC relaunched its guidance Raising Concerns in September 2013.

5.   The NMC is listed under the Public Interest Disclosure Act as a place a worker may raise concerns about the registration or fitness to practise of a registered nurse or midwife, or any activities which relate to function of the NMC.

6.   For media enquiries, please contact Ann Brown at or on 020 7681 5649/5936.