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January 2020: The following information is shared to prepare for implementation in summer 2020

Case study

  • Date:
  • Category:
    Concern involving a volunteer
    Concern involving HR
    Serious concern requiring Stage 2 investigation


A volunteer in a children’s ward comes in to read to the children once a week.  They are concerned that a particular senior nurse belittles and demeans staff and believe that few of the staff on the ward would feel able to raise concerns, given the atmosphere on the ward.  They feel staff are being bullied to such an extent that it poses a risk to vulnerable patients.

The volunteer is unsure who to speak to on the ward, so raises their concerns with their volunteer coordinator in the hospital.  The coordinator logs the concern at stage 2 of the whistleblowing procedure and provides information and support based on the Standards.  They pass on the volunteer’s concerns to the clinical nurse manager of that ward, who initiates a full investigation into the culture in the ward.

Given the nature of the concerns, HR are informed and initiate their own investigation.  Separate from the HR investigations into conduct, a senior manager from another department is brought in to consider what action can be taken in the short term to improve patient safety, and for staff to speak to specifically about any such concerns which have been overlooked.  The volunteer is informed of the outcome of the whistleblowing investigation and is signposted to the INWO if they if they do not think that this concern has been resolved.

Updated: January 9, 2020