Staff complaints concerning patient safety, bullying and harassment are above the national average at an East Anglian health trust.

The latest Freedom to Speak Up report for the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) shows that 164 staff raised issues from October 2021 to December 2022.

Nationally, 19% of cases raised included an element of patient safety - within ESNEFT this made up 29% of reports.

On a national level, 32% of issues raised included bullying and harassment - within ESNEFT this was 38% of cases.

The report stated that there is much conjectural evidence which suggests the most significant obstacle for staff wanting to make a report is fear of retribution.

It went on to add: "Staff are acutely aware of the career limiting potential of being seen as a trouble maker and many will go out of their way to remain anonymous or confidential."

In a survey of staff who had raised a complaint to the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, it was found that 36% respondents said, given their experience, they would not speak up again.

Deborah O'Hara, ESNEFT's deputy director of people and organisational development, said: "An honest and open culture helps us to learn from incidents and we encourage our staff to raise concerns openly or anonymously, safe in the knowledge that they will be supported.

"Our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and assistant guardians are available to support staff and help to make speaking up a better experience, helping and advising while treating any concern with discretion and care.

Ms O'Hara added: "There are also a number of other avenues our staff can follow, including unions and other confidential help lines, to help them raise concerns.

"Whichever route they choose to take, we want them to feel safe, listened to and supported to help us make improvements where needed."