How to Raise a Concern in the Medical Sector

As a nurse or midwife you have a professional duty to put the interests of the people in your care first and act to protect them if you consider they may be at risk.

In an industry where people’s lives are at risk every day, it is right to have a robust set of principles and guidelines to ensure you stay protected.

As a temp or locum worker you are often going into new places and working with people you have never met before. Questioning their individual methods or the practice of the establishment they are working in can be daunting but failure to raise a concern if you have one could negatively affect your career. Not only can you be suspended or struck off for failures in your own work environment but ignoring or being apathetic towards another’s poor practice could also land you in hot water.

Should you begin to suspect evidence of malpractice, abuse or neglect being committed in your place of work across any degree of severity, raising your concern as early as possible can prevent minor issues becoming serious or even dangerous.

Examples of malpractice most commonly worthy of concerns or whistleblowing include:

  • Danger or risk to health and safety.
  • Unprofessional attitudes or behaviour, including concerns related to equality and diversity.
  • Issues to do with delivering care involving nurses, midwives or other staff members.
  • A sub standard quality of resources, staff or organisation
  • Whether the health of a colleague may affect their ability to practise safely.
  • Misuse or unavailability of clinical equipment and adequate training.
  • Financial malpractice, such as criminal acts and fraud.

You do not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt your concern is valid but must at least have sufficient belief that wrongdoing has occurred either in the past, the present or will in the future.

We recognise that mustering up the courage to come forward can be a lonely and intimidating experience. If you ever feel overwhelmed by this prospect and require confidential advice or support before issuing your concern, contact your professional body, trade union or the Public Concern at Work charity for further information.

Our experience shows that having the support and backing of these bodies can make all the difference in order for you to push forward and help your practice maintain an exceptional level of patient care.

Also be aware of the differences between concerns and complaints in the medical sector.


  • Worries surrounding an issue which affects others e.g. patients, staff or the organisation as a whole


  • Focuses on issues affecting you personally and how you’ve been treated at work.


By Jason Paterson

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