Anyone who provides services for the NHS can raise a concern, including current (and former) employees, agency workers (and others on short or insecure contracts such as locums and bank staff), contractors (including third-sector service providers), trainees and students, volunteers, non-executive directors, and anyone working alongside NHS staff, such as those in health and social care partnerships. A person raising a concern has usually witnessed an event, but they may have no direct personal involvement in the issue they are raising.
If the person does not want to use this procedure, please see the section on confidentiality.
More than one person can raise the same concern, either individually or together. Anyone receiving a concern must make sure they understand who wants to achieve what, and whether everyone wants to be kept informed and updated on the progress of any investigation.
It is important for everyone involved in this procedure to be aware that some people may feel at greater risk than others as a result of raising a concern. For example:
- employees whose employment may be less secure, such as agency staff or those who need a visa to work in the UK
- students and others who are due to be assessed on their work
- people from any of the recognised equalities groups.
Some people may consider themselves to be more likely to be treated unfairly as a result of raising a concern, particularly if they are in more than one of the above groups. It is particularly important to make sure people are aware of the support available through this procedure, and that any concerns they raise are treated seriously.
If the person is raising a concern about a service that is not their employer, for example, a district nurse working in a GP service, a locum pharmacist working for an agency, or a care assistant working within an HSCP service, they must be able to raise concerns either direct with their employer or within the service itself, and they must have full access to the National Whistleblowing Standards.