Nurse told to be quiet about incidents

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A survey reported in The Timesthis week, which was carried out for the Royal College of Nursing in the wake of the Francis enquiry into the Stafford hospital enquiry has found that a quarter of nurses had been told to keep quiet about incidents in which the safety of patients was put at risk.

Nurses reported concerns about victimisation and reprisals and some feeling that when they did report concerns about patient care, they had put their careers on the line unnecessarily because no action was taken.

Almost half of the nurses surveyed had "blown the whistle" in the last six months with one in ten doing so in the last week.  One in five of the complaints were about patient safety.

As the Francis enquiry highlighted, there is a need to change the culture of intimidation so that nurses are able to report any concerns about patient safety and staffing and, furthermore, employers need to react to the concerns voiced by their nursing staff to ensure that the horrendous situation of neglect of elderly and frail patients at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust are not repeated elsewhere.

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