You are here

Give us your views on the new National Guardian role

17 September 2015
  • Public

We are seeking views on the new role of a National Guardian, who will be responsible for leading local ambassadors across the country so that staff feel safe to raise concerns and confident that they will be heard.

The new role will be hosted within CQC, working closely with other bodies including, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England.

Today we have launched a public consultation on the best way to establish and ensure the independence of this role and how the responsibility will lie within the organisation.

The need for an independent National Guardian for the NHS was highlighted in Sir Robert Francis’s ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ review in February, which found that patients could be put at risk of harm because vital information about mistakes and concerns were not being raised by NHS staff routinely. This was due to reporting systems that were either insufficient or not used or because healthcare professionals did not feel able to.

The creation of the National Guardian was one of the key recommendations from this review. In July, The Secretary of State for Health confirmed that CQC should host the role.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, commented: “Staff in the NHS are committed to delivering good care day in, day out. Sometimes things will go wrong and staff will raise concerns about the quality and safety of patient care. Good organisations respond to these concerns openly and transparently as a normal part of working. This results in better and safer care.

“The National Guardian, with the support of local Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, will contribute to the changing culture that is needed to ensure that this good practice exists everywhere and that staff are encouraged to speak up and are supported to do it.”

Among their responsibilities, the National Guardian will lead, advise, and support named individuals within NHS trusts called ‘local guardians’ in carrying out investigations on how concerns are being handled. They will also share good practice, report on national or common themes, and identify any barriers that are preventing the NHS from having a truly safe and open culture.

Last updated:
29 May 2017