Freedom to Speak Up - e-Learning for Healthcare
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This programme is in partnership with...
  • Health Education England
  • Public Concern at Work

About the Freedom to Speak Up programme

A new culture of openness is needed in the NHS. To improve safety and make the health service a better place to work, we need leadership and a culture that places less emphasis on blame when things go wrong and more importance on transparency and learning from mistakes in the NHS.

In response to concerns about culture in the NHS, the Secretary of State for Health commissioned Sir Robert Francis to carry out an independent review: Freedom to Speak Up (www.cqc.org.uk/content/national-guardians-office ). The review recommended that every NHS organisation should provide training on the value of speaking up which complies with national standards. The independent report by the Commission on Education and Training for Patient Safety has set out the future of education and training for patient safety in the NHS over the next 10 years and these e-learning sessions will enable organisations to support all learners and staff to raise and respond to concerns as recommended by the report.

The ‘Raising a Concern (Whistleblowing)’ e-learning session will act as a helpful resource to current and future healthcare staff by promoting all relevant policies, procedures, best practice and available support in relation to raising concerns. It teaches NHS staff the value of speaking up and highlights what support is available. Speaking up about wrongdoing at the earliest opportunity can save lives, prevent harm and protect organisational reputation.

The ‘Responding to Concerns (Whistleblowing)’ e-learning session should be completed after the Raising Concerns session. It helps managers and designated contacts understand their roles and responsibilities in relation to whistleblowing and how to respond to and handle concerns effectively.

More information

Raising concerns about risk, wrongdoing or malpractice will become a reality for all NHS workers at some point in their careers. Unfortunately a lack of awareness among staff of when and how to raise concerns effectively and a failure by managers to respond to concerns in a timely and appropriate manner can perpetuate a potentially dangerous culture of silence.

Public Concern at Work hear from thousands of whistleblowers every year on the whistleblowing advice line that they operate. This shows that whistleblowing is neither rare nor unusual. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by the charity, whistleblowing is being seen as an increasingly positive activity with 81% of UK workers saying they would blow the whistle if they were to witness wrongdoing or malpractice.

Additional resources

In recent years, it’s become clear that some staff don’t have the knowledge or confidence to raise or respond to concerns about patient safety.

In response, we’ve developed two education and training films – ‘Raising Concerns‘ and ‘Responding to Concerns‘ – that aim to raise awareness on the importance of raising concerns, build confidence amongst staff on how to do so and equip managers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to respond adequately, timely and safely.

As educational tools, the films will support healthcare professionals at all levels – ensuring they feel empowered to both raise and respond to concerns. The films look at three scenarios that highlight broad lessons to be applied elsewhere. As well as stressing the importance of raising and responding to concerns, the films explain what to do and signposts to further information.

In addition, ‘Making Speaking Up Business as Usual’ is a film to promote speaking up, and to raise awareness of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role.

Raising Concerns

This film aims to raise awareness on the importance of raising concerns and to build confidence amongst staff on how to do so.

A subtitled version of the film is available here: Raising Concerns

Responding to Concerns

This film aims to equip managers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to respond to concerns adequately, timely and safely.

A subtitled version of the film is available here: Responding to Concerns

Making Speaking Up Business as Usual

Making Speaking Up Business as Usual is a film to promote speaking up, and to raise awareness of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role.

A subtitled version of the film is available here: Making Speaking Up Business as Usual

Executive Group

  • Russell Parkinson

    Russell Parkinson

    Interim National Guardian Directorate Manager (Engagement)
  • Samina Malik

    Samina Malik

    Education and Training Policy Manager (HEE)
  • Rosie Courtney

    Rosie Courtney

    Former Programme Lead for Learning to be Safer Programme (HEE)
  • Cathy James 

    Cathy James 

    Chief Executive, PCaW

Project Team

  • Jon Cunningham

    Jon Cunningham

    Development Director, PCaW
  • Margit Veveris

    Margit Veveris

    Assistant Project Manager, HEE
  • Maslah Amin

    Maslah Amin

    Clinical Fellow, HEE
  • Zoe Brown

    Zoe Brown

    Safety and Experience Lead (Freedom to Speak Up Guardian), Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS FT
  • Andi Blackmore

    Project Manager, e-LfH
  • e-LfH staff - Neha Baj

    Neha Baj

    Content Development Lead, e-LfH
  • Nyla Cooper

    Nyla Cooper

    Programme Lead, NHS Employers
  • Adele Bunch

    Adele Bunch

    Senior Programme Officer, NHS Employers
  • Liz Teasdale

    Liz Teasdale

    Communications Project Manager, HEE
  • Profile picture of article author Alex Drinkall

    Alex Drinkall

    Stakeholder Manager, e-LfH
  • Charles Rendell

    Charles Rendell

    Strategy Manager, Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Peer Review Team

  • Dr Maslah Amin

    Dr Maslah Amin

    National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, Health Education England
  • Rosie Courtney

    Rosie Courtney

    Programme Lead, National Programmes, Health Education England
  • Maria Earley

    Maria Earley

    HR Project Manager,  Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Mary Sampson

    Mary Sampson

    Corporate HR Manager, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust
  • Margit Veveris

    Margit Veveris

    Assistant Project Manager, Health Education England
  • Elaine Butchard

    Elaine Butchard

    Assistant Director of HR, OD-Medicine and Core Clinical Support Services, The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust
  • Adele Bunch

    Adele Bunch

    Senior Programme Officer, NHS Employers
  • Nyla Cooper

    Nyla Cooper

    Programme Lead, NHS Employers
  • Alan Wilson

    Alan Wilson

    Non Executive Director, Wirral Community NHS Trust
  • Becky Tate

    Becky Tate

    Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
  • Heather Bruce

    Heather Bruce

    Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, University of Morecambe Bay NHS FT Trust
  • Matthew Joyesst

    Matthew Joyesst

    Associate Director of Safety and Quality Governance and Raising Concerns Guardian, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Tru
  • Carlene Holden

    Carlene Holden

    HR Manager, Children and Communities BSU Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS FT
  • Barry Mortimer

    Barry Mortimer

    Senior HR Adviser, Calderdale & Huddersfield Foundation Trust
  • Anita Vincent

    Anita Vincent

    Associate Director of Staff Engagement, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust

How to access

In order to access any e-LfH programme, you will need an e-LfH account. If you do not have one, then you can register by selecting the Register button below.

Register >

If you already have an account with e-LfH, then you can enrol on to the Freedom to Speak Up programme by logging in to the e-LfH Hub, selecting My Account > Enrolment and selecting the programme. You can then access the programme immediately in the My e-Learning section.

Access for NHS healthcare staff in England

The Freedom to Speak Up programme is also available to NHS healthcare staff via the Electronic Staff Record (ESR). Accessing this e-Learning via ESR means that your completions will transfer with you throughout your NHS career.

Further details are available here.

e-LfH is a Health Education England Programme in partnership with the NHS and Professional Bodies