COVID-19 and Freedom to Speak Up

At this unprecedented time, Freedom to Speak Up is more important than ever.

It is vital that healthcare leaders act to help Freedom to Speak Up guardians and those who support them to carry out their role and keep their patients and colleagues safe. In times of difficulty many workers will want to speak up, and it is even more critical that they are listened to.

The work organisations do to address COVID-19 must of course take precedence. Many Freedom to Speak guardians have clinical backgrounds and other skillsets that will be called into action.

The National Guardian, Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE, has written to urge NHS trust chairs and health leaders to consider their Freedom to Speak Up guardian arrangements in this challenging time, so that all workers still have the ability to access someone in a speaking up role if the guardian is being re-deployed.

The National Guardian’s Office has already received supportive messages in response from a number of chairs.

One chair wrote “I totally agree that this is a moment more than ever when our FTSU guardians will be providing vital support. We are already ensuring our guardian has the support she requires and I can confirm she will not be distracted from her role.”

Another stated: “In these unprecedented times the welfare and care of our amazing staff is so important. We are working hard and have plans in place to offer additional support as the pace of activity speeds up across our hospitals.”

March 26, 2020