A hospital trust once rocked by care scandals and staff bullying has signed up to Nursing Times’ Speak Out Safely Campaign and made a public commitment to staff to help them raise concerns.
Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which was at the centre of the public inquiry into poor care failings by Robert Francis QC, is backing Nursing Times in its effort to make it easier for frontline staff to speak up in the interests of patient safety.
The trust is the latest to support the campaign and has published the Speak out Safely pledge on the trust website and the staff intranet.
Bosses at the Midlands trust also plan to change its whistleblowing policy to include the commitment which makes clear staff will not face disciplinary action for raising genuine patient safety concerns.
It is part of efforts to transform the culture at the hospital after the high-profile failings between 2005 and 2009 when staff failed to raise the alarms over poor care and the trust put targets ahead of patient safety.
Julie Hendry, director of quality and patient experience at the Mid Staffordshire Trust said the organisation had come a long way in the last few years and supporting the Speak Out Safely campaign was part of that journey.
She said: “There is no comparison, those really were the bad old days and in the last three and a half years I have been here people have been actively thanked for speaking up.”
Ms Hendry said the trust’s whistleblowing policies were changed in February to include a commitment that staff would be protected and that anyone under a compromise agreement is free to speak on patient safety issues.
She added: “Nurses are the biggest group of care givers and they are the eyes and ears of patients.
“They are the patient advocate and they have to feel they can raise any concerns they have.”
One of the largest hospital trusts in England has backed Nursing Times’ campaign to make it easier for staff to raise concerns.
So far some of the largest trusts in the country have signed up to the campaign included the Heart of England Foundation Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester.
The Speak Out Safely campaign, born out of concerns NHS staff fear speaking up, also aims to obtain a commitment from the government to carry out a full review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act to ensure it gives adequate protection to NHS staff.
It also calls for a statutory duty of candour, as recommended by Robert Francis QC with criminal protection for any member of staff who is bullied or blocked from meeting the duty.
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