Freedom to Speak Up – Independent Review into NHS Whistleblowing

Independent Review has been launched today led by Sir Robert Francis QC, looking into whistleblowing in the NHS. He will have a dedicated team who will be assisting him with the review.

Sir Robert Francis has appointed a series of advisers to support his work: Norman Williams, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons; Peter Homa, chief executive of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and Kath Fenton, chief nurse at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The review will host a series of seminars in the autumn to explore key issues and solutions.

Two separate pieces of research into whistleblowing in the NHS and the views of NHS staff will be conducted at Middlesex and Greenwich universities.

The review secretariat will be led by Joanna Donaldson, the HR director of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Robert Francis, head of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust inquiry
Sir Robert Francis QC









This has been come about as a result of  a group of six whistleblowers requesting for a public inquiry into their cases, so that lessons can be learnt,  and correct remedy for the future can be implemented in order to protect patients and whistleblowers. The six whistleblowers are: Sharmila Chowdhury, David Drew, Annabelle Blackburn, Jennie Fecitt, Edwin Jesudasson and Narinder Kapur.

Speaking to Health Service Journal, Sir Robert will also meet personally with selected whistleblowers, but will not make judgments on individual cases. He said all information would be treated in the “strictest confidence”. “We have gone to great pains to set up our website and emails so they are completely controlled by us and independent of any government organisations,” Sir Robert said.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, opted for a review rather than an inquiry according to The Times,  as he felt this would take shorter time, and some changes could be implemented prior to election. The review will be unable to intervene in individual cases.


Speaking to Shaun Lintern, Health Service Journal, Sir Francis said the review would examine whether hospital managers should be held more accountable for their involvement in cover ups.

“There should be consequences for that,” he added. “We should no longer tolerate people being in effect exiled from the health service because they have raised concerns,” he said.

This is called Freedom to Speak up as it will include all, not just who have reported or whistleblew externally.  It will be helpful for the team, if the submissions are focussed and clearly written. Survey is of all NHS workers and organisations.  The team want to hear of positive as well as negative stories of whistleblowing.  The submissions will start today & will end on 10 September. The report will be available in November this year.


Terms of reference and confidentiality


Some related articles leading up to review:

NHS whistleblowers to air complaint with Jeremy Hunt

Letter to Jeremy Hunt

Whistleblower sacked from Ealing Hospital meets Health Secretary to demand public inquiry

NHS may face whistleblower public inquiry

ITV London –

meeting with Hunt & Stevens

Ministers order inquiry into NHS whistleblowing

Hunt vows to punish NHS bullies

Message from Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt –

Message from a whistleblower  

Independent review urges whsitleblowers to speak

I reported my concerns and was given the brush off


 For further details and submissions please visit:


To contribute to the review


For article in the HSJ please visit: HSJ Website


One thought on “Freedom to Speak Up – Independent Review into NHS Whistleblowing

  1. Pingback: Response to Francis Report | sharmilachowdhury

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