It is likely that all of our staff will experience concerns about something that is happening at work, at one time or another in their career. Sometimes, these can be easily resolved and sometimes it can be more difficult to know what to do. When it does happen, we want our staff to feel they can be open and have those conversations about the improvements that are needed for our patients and colleagues.
In our focus to provide a ‘safer environment’ for staff to speak up, we have undertaken a number of actions. We have:
- Completed a review of best practice approaches for Raising Concerns, and implications of changes in legislation
- Undertaken broad consultation with a number of staff and patient groups to gain their input on how concerns could best be managed
- Taken an early decision to broaden the focus from ‘whistle-blowing’ to ‘Raising Concerns’ of any kind
- Updated our policy – broadening to ‘Raising Concerns, incorporating Whistle-blowing,’ making it more staff-friendly with a simple to follow flow-chart
- Introduced more routes for staff to raise concerns, and a named independent contact to supplement the existing internal confidential contacts.
This was our background work. We recognise that changing a policy does not change culture. Our focus ahead of introducing the policy has been on readying the environment with key groups of managers – supporting them with tools and techniques to create and maintain a ‘safe’ environment for their staff.
We have now completed manager workshops in our first areas of focus, working with over 70 senior nurses, medical leaders, ward managers, confidential contacts and HR. In addition we have broadened our scope, with operational managers attending the workshops.
Having worked on readying the environment with these key groups of managers, we launched the updated framework to our staff in August, focusing on ensuring that our staff know the process for raising any concerns they may have, and making clear what they can expect from the Trust.