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06.04.16

National Guardian post to be advertised later this month

The National Guardian for whistleblowers post will be advertised later this month, the CQC has said.

The post was created in January but became vacant when Dame Eileen Sills resigned after just two months, saying the demands of balancing the post with her role as chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London were too difficult.

David Bell has now stepped back from acting as interim deputy National Guardian, but Sir Robert Francis, CQC board member and author of the ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ report, is currently providing non-executive support and oversight to the role.

Sir Robert said: “The Office of the National Guardian is a key part of the promotion of the freedom to speak up in the NHS. I remain personally committed to help see a new National Guardian appointed as soon as possible and to oversee the continuing development of the infrastructure required to support the new appointee. I am confident that the team at CQC is working hard to ensure that the new Guardian has the support in place to enable this vital work to be done.”

The new National Guardian will be required to set up the office, then provide advice and support to NHS trusts and local guardians as they set up the role, give broader advice to NHS management on how to create a safe culture for whistleblowers, and develop the process and criteria for reviewing the handling of whistleblowing cases.

The CQC will interview candidates for the position in May and June.

The newly formed NHS Improvement has also published the first national policy to protect whistleblowers, which advises whistleblowers to raise their concerns with local guardians.

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