Part 1: Guidance for individuals

14. All regulated healthcare professionals (including optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical students) have a duty to protect patients and the public. This is put into practice in a variety of ways every day and healthcare professionals are in a privileged position to be able to play a part in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of patients and the public.

15. Sometimes, this may involve speaking up about concerns where patient or public safety are, or may be, at risk, or other propriety concerns where something is observed that appears seriously wrong or not in accordance with accepted standards. This can be a daunting prospect, particularly if the concerns relate to an employer’s policies or processes, but there are ways in which it can be done constructively to minimise stress for all involved. This part of the guidance will look at when an individual should speak up, how they might do so and to whom, what qualifies as a ‘protected disclosure’ and how the disclosure might be managed, as well as signposting to sources of further advice.