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Protect calls for independent review of speak up in the NHS after horrifying findings of Ockenden Review

We are shocked and saddened at what the Ockenden Rreview has uncovered at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.  

The review found hundreds of avoidable deaths within the trust’s maternity services after analysing the experiences of 1500 families between 2000 and 2019. Some families lost more than one child in separate incidents.    

It also revealed a toxic environment in which workers were victimised and threatened if they considered speaking out. The report found that the Trustencouraged [staff] not to complain or raise awareness of poor practice within both personal and professional capacities”.  

Despite the fact the Freedom to Speak Up reforms were put in place across the NHS seven years ago, whistleblowers are still being victimised. Whistleblowers need proper protections in the NHS and a culture that encourages speaking up.  

As such, Protect calls for a full, independent review into speak up in the NHS and whether it works as intended. Important questions must be answered: Do FSUGs have sufficient resources for the important job they do?  How can the different parts of their role – both supporting individual whistleblowers and improving the Trust Speak Up culture – be developed?  And, perhaps most significantly, what is the role of Boards and Trust leaders in ensuring that speak up arrangements are working effectively? 

Read this blog by our Head of Policy Andrew Pepper-Parsons for our full response to the report.