Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Speaking up for patients

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) has welcomed today’s publication of a landmark report encouraging the NHS to do ever more to support staff to speak up and raise concerns to create a stronger patient safety culture.

Peter Homa, NUH Chief Executive, was an advisor for the ‘Freedom to Speak Up Review’ team, led by Sir Robert Francis QC, which was an independent review into creating open and honest reporting culture across the NHS. The report is published today and is available here.

Welcoming the publication of the report, Peter said:

“This is a landmark report, which sets out the next steps in the NHS routinely welcoming staff who raise concerns as something to be valued and treasured. Quite simply, if managed well, speaking up and raising concerns improves the safety and wellbeing of both patients and staff.

“At NUH, we can confidently say our patients are safer in our care year-on-year and that most have a good experience. Yet, we are not complacent and there is always room for improvement. This report sets out where we can strengthen even further our extensive trust-wide patient safety programme, which is driven by ideas from patients and staff and learning from both our own mistakes and good practice – to make services and care even better for patients.

“We encourage a culture of openness at our hospitals. We have an active programme to encourage our staff to raise concerns. From the Trust Board to each ward and department, we are absolutely committed to ensuring the fundamentals of patient care are consistently delivered. At our regular patient safety walkabouts involving Trust Board members, we listen to the views and concerns of our front line staff, including junior doctors and student nurses, to provide a forum in which staff can feel supported to share concerns directly with senior colleagues and have confidence that actions and changes will happen as a result of these open conversations.

“In 2014, NUH became one of the first trusts in the country to support the ‘Sign up for Safety’ campaign, which gave added momentum to the work already underway across our hospitals to continuously improve patient safety. By sharing the work we are doing with other trusts and indeed by learning from others as well as our own mistakes, we will do an even better job for our patients. Nottingham recently hosted a patient safety conference to share learning and good practice across the NHS. One of our other success stories from 2014 was the launch of a new group, called ‘Staff Improving Patient Safety’. Led by frontline staff, this group has been set up to improve patient safety across NUH, with impressive early results such are levels of engagement from junior doctors, nurses and other frontline clinical colleagues. 

“We know from the engagement events we held in the summer of 2014 with many thousands of patients, staff and partners, that one of the areas people wish us to give even greater focus to is speaking up for safety and quality. We want our patients, visitors, carers and staff to know it’s OK to speak up when they have concerns about safety and care and know that these concerns will be taken seriously and acted upon.
‘Speak up’ for quality and safety is one of our three priorities for the next phase of our well-established values and behaviours programme which is positively changing the culture within NUH.

“NUH will be closely reviewing the ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ Report and its helpful recommendations, which include how we can do more to recognise and value staff who speak up with their concerns. Training is available for staff in how to handle and receive concerns as we aim to further strengthen the work we do together with our staff to ensure patients are ever safer in our care.”

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