Freedom to Speak Up Guardians

North West London Training Hubs have launched Freedom to Speak Up Guardians (FTSUGs) within Primary Care. FTSUGs are a cohort of staff across NWL Primary Care, primarily within the Training Hubs, who have completed the necessary national training to support the workforce in speaking up.

What is Speaking Up?

FTSUGs support staff to speak up when they feel that they are unable to do so in other ways. You can speak up about anything that affects you, patient care or your working life. This could be about anything that is troubling you including inappropriate attitudes and behaviours, bullying and / or harassment.

Why do we need this?

In 2014, The Equality & Diversity Council proposed the NHS develop a WRES to improve working environments. Research shows that unfair treatment of staff, specifically BAME staff, adversely affects the care and treatment of all patients. The guardians are a part of a larger effort to support the workforce and improve working environments.

How to Speak Up?

Email [email protected] with your concern or query and you will be matched with a guardian. Note that conversations remain confidential, and we will work with you to support decisions pertaining to next steps you may wish to take.

How can I access the service: If you have a concern or query email [email protected] to be matched with a guardian. You can also submit your concern or query here.


What is a Speak Up Guardian?

A Speak Up Guardian is a support person who has undergone national training to support the workforce in raising concerns. When you match with a guardian-they will listen, thank you for speaking up, and, where appropriate, escalate matters to bodies outside their organisation.

Why do we need this service?

When staff believe their opinions matter, valued, and acted on- they become more committed, and performance and retention improves. In many instances, staff are aware when things are not right or where improvements could be made. It is also a key line of inquiry (KLOE) from the Care and Quality Commission (CQC)

What is the difference between whistleblowing and speaking up?

These terms have been used interchangeably. Whistleblowing denotes a more formal process. The distinction is that speaking up can be both formal or informal given the nature of the case.

Is it anonymous?

The confidentiality of those who speak up will be respected, subject to the need to ensure safeguarding requirements are met. In every instance where confidentiality may need breach (patient care) the person who raised the concern will be informed.

What can I speak up about?

People can speak up about anything that gets in the way of patient care, or that affects working life. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Bullying/Harassment.
  • Patient Care.
  • Staff Health, Safety and/or Wellbeing.
  • Inappropriate Attitudes and Behaviours.
What if I just want someone to talk to? Conversely, what if I want to escalate the matter?

The person speaking up has control of what happens to their case. If they would like to escalate their matter, the guardian can provide support with this. Further, if a person is only looking to discuss a query or concern, they can do that as well. Guardians are not an investigator – they will listen, thank you, and refer the case to the appropriate entities.

How can I contact the guardians?

Have a concern or query? Email [email protected] to match with a guardian.

Are there similar services available to primary care?

Yes! Keeping Well North West London: Free and confidential psychological support and advice to all staff. The service provides individual support such as advice and talking therapies, as well as support to managers, teams and organisations. To contact and find out more please visit: Home :Keeping Well (