NHS chief executives should crawl “on bended knee from one side of their hospital to the other” to beg staff to raise concerns, according to a leading health policy commentator.
Speaking at the RCN Congress in Liverpool, Roy Lilley said that he did not understand why senior directors needed their staff to blow the whistle.
In a speech that entertained and challenged conference delegates, he also said if NHS staff were empowered to handle complaints and trained to do so as they are in private business, the NHS would have far fewer serious problems.
Mr Lilley, a former NHS Health Authority and trust chair, said NHS trusts were “very bad” at handling complaints, but there were six simple steps to the process – listen, sympathise, don’t justify, make notes, agree a course of action and follow through.
He also aired his strong belief that nurse staffing numbers should be mandated, pointing out that minimum staffing numbers were “prescribed in law” for those working in airlines, in a crèche, and at football grounds.
He highlighted that staffing numbers were mandated in hospitals in New Zealand, Australia and California, based on safety requirements.
But he said in England the number of nurses was decided “by some berk with a calculator who works in the finance department”.
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