'Speaking Up' for patient safety and staff well-being: a qualitative study

Rebecca Delpino, Liz Lees-Deutsch, Bhawna Solanki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Background Freedom To Speak Up Guardians (FTSUGs) and Confidential Contacts (CCs) were appointed nationally following the Mid Staffordshire inquiry to listen to and support staff who were unable to address concerns through normal channels of communication. Aim Explore perceptions of an FTSUG and CCs through shared experiences and personal stories. Objectives (1) Explore perceptions of an FTSUG and CCs. (2) Consider how individuals can be best supported. (3) Improve staff knowledge on speaking up. (4) Understand factors influencing reflections around patient safety. (5) Share exemplars of good practice through use of personal stories to promote a culture of openness to raise concerns. Method A focus group of eight participants, namely the FTSUG and CCs working within one large National Health Service (NHS) trust, was used to gather data. Data were collated and organised using a created table. Thematic analysis enabled each theme to emerge and be identified. Conclusion (1) An innovative approach to the introduction, development and implementation of an FTSUG and CC roles and responsibilities in healthcare. (2) To gain insight into the personal experiences of a FTSUG and CCs working within one large NHS trust. (3) To be supportive of culture change with committed leadership responsiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002047
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open Quality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.


Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Education Funding, University Hospitals Birmingham, UK.


  • leadership
  • patient safety
  • qualitative research
  • safety culture
  • whistleblowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management


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