Examination of Witness

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 9th September 2021.

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Sir Robert Francis:

Unless there is certainty on guidance, policies and guardians, of which I am a great supporter, people do not know where to go. Clearly, where things are going right in terms of an open culture, there are many people whom others will go to as a matter of ordinary business. But if we are talking about places where, unfortunately, that is not the case—I think they do exist—people do not know who to go to for help. They need to know that they have protection to go to places to provide information of concern, and they need to know that they are going to get support. If there is no guidance and no clear framework, none of that will happen, and secrets will remain at provider level, when they should be sent elsewhere. Existing mechanisms, such as going to the CQC and your local Freedom to Speak Up guardian in your trust, will still exist—I see no reason why those should not—but I suspect there will be areas and subjects where that will not necessarily be the answer to the question the individual wishes to pose.