Supporting the Freedom to Speak Up

Amy Lee

Posted on February by Amy Lee
Posted in

Earlier this week the recommendations of “Freedom to Speak Up”, the review commissioned by the Secretary of State and chaired by Sir Robert Francis QC, were published. The purpose of the review was to gain independent advice and recommendations on creating a more open and honest reporting culture in the NHS following on from the Mid Staffordshire Review.

The recommendations highlight the importance of all staff being aware of the expectation that they will come forward, speak up and raise any concerns. As the Chief Executive of Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals it is my job to make sure that everybody working in this Organisation knows that if they witness poor practice, uncompassionate care, neglect or abuse that it is their responsibility to speak out and raise the alert.

In order to achieve this I can alert our 6,500 staff to the processes to report concerns, and make sure that they are aware of our whistleblowing policy. However there is also a huge role to play in making sure that we have a culture that supports staff to speak up.

I am personally committed to developing and nurturing an open and transparent culture, and I am fortunate enough to work in an Organisation that that shares the same commitment. It is for this reason that we have been a significant contributor to the Review and some examples of good practice within the Trust are highlighted in the Report.

Some of our work to develop and support this culture includes:

·         Introducing ‘raising concerns’ as an integral part of the induction process.

·         Recruiting management and Care Group directors with reference to our core values that harness performance through teams by developing staff, actively listening and valuing feedback, empowering staff and respecting diversity.

·         Geraldine Broderick, our Senior Independent Director, has been visiting frontline areas over the last few years, making sure staff are aware of how to raise concerns, and more importantly that they feel supported to do so.

·         We have an ‘Ask The Boss’ forum, that allows staff to personally ask me a question, or raise a concern - anonymously if they wish.

And above all, listening to and acting on concerns raised – whether that is from our staff, or our patients and members of the public.

In addition to this just over a year ago we shared Gina's story with our staff. The film was made, with the support of the very brave Gina and her husband Tom, to encourage our staff to raise issues, speak up about near misses and put forward ideas for improvements. The film is still an important learning tool for us today - by sharing it and being open about how mistakes can occur, everyone can consider the systems and processes in their own working areas.

We can’t thank Gina enough for her support and desire to allow us to learn from this, and make the organisation as safe as possible.


Mike Pinkerton
Chief Executive
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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