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New National Guardian appointed to lead the NHS in speaking up freely and safely

Dr Henrietta Hughes has been appointed as the new National Guardian for speaking up freely and safely within the NHS.

portrait of Dr Henrietta Hughes

Dr Hughes is a practising GP with over 20 years of experience across primary, secondary and community healthcare. She has been Medical Director for NHS England's North Central and East London region since April 2013, in which she provides system leadership across 12 clinical commissioning groups and 12 NHS trusts, and she is the Responsible Officer for nearly 3,000 GPs.

Sir Robert Francis, CQC board member and author of the Freedom to Speak Up review, said of the appointment:

"I would like to congratulate Henrietta for her appointment as National Guardian. She displays a genuine commitment to want to make a real difference to the lives of NHS staff and their patients. With her leadership, I am confident that she and her office can make great strides in achieving that."

"No service can be effective without listening to and acting on the concerns raised by its staff, let alone one which employs such skilled and dedicated people as the NHS. They are the lifeblood of the service, and the lifeline for their patients. 

"However, the evidence clearly shows that many staff are fearful of speaking up. It is important that every part of the NHS develops a culture in which it is entirely normal to raise issues about safety, quality and effectiveness of the service, for those issues to be addressed and for those who raise them to be protected from any adverse consequences arising out of their disclosures.

"I believe that the National Guardian, her office and the network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians all have an invaluable role to play in supporting these changes."

Read more on the appointment here.

To contact the National Guardian's Office:

0300 067 9000

Last updated:
12 January 2017