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Morecambe Bay installs post boxes for staff to raise concerns

A trust at the centre of a recent scandal over poor care has launched a “safety station” scheme to allow nurses to report concerns about safety or quality of care anonymously.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, which has signed up to Nursing Times’ Speak Out Safely campaign, is installing special post boxes and comment cards at each of its three sites to encourage staff to give confidential feedback.

Nurses will get regular updates on action taken as a result of any concerns they have raised as part of the initiative, which launched last week.

Mangers at the trust, which has embarked on a turnaround programme in the light of maternity care failings, said the scheme was part of an ongoing commitment to listen to staff and patients.

“The ‘safety stations’ give staff the opportunity to raise concerns in real time and mean they don’t have to go through a complicated process to raise a concern,” deputy chief nurse Mary Moore told Nursing Times.

She said feedback cards would be read at least once a week by senior staff such as herself, the deputy medical director and medical director.

“Staff know the cards will be read by senior staff who will then make a judgement on whether it’s a serious concern that needs immediate attention or something that can be tackled as part of planned work,” Ms Moore said.

Staff will be told what action has been taken via a monthly “you said, we did” bulletin.

Safety station boxes will be placed in areas staff use a lot such as near staff entrances and canteens with the scheme set to be extended to patients in the near future.

“It was something that was suggested by our patients and their families and something that works well in industry,” said Ms Moore.

“It feels like the right thing to do and the right time to be doing it. There’s a very optimistic feeling in the trust as we continue on our improvement journey.”

Other efforts to boost patient safety and ensure staff feel confident raising concerns include more one-to-one supervision with line managers and rigorous safety and risk checks at handovers, she added.

  • Four more community services providers pledged to support Speak Out Safely last week, taking the total number of organisations backing our campaign to more than 60.

The latest organisations are: Lincolnshire Community Health Services Trust, Wirral Community Health, Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare Trust and Bristol Community Health, a social enterprise providing NHS funded services.

Find out more at www.nursingtimes.net/sos

Readers' comments (30)

  • michael stone

    'to allow nurses to report concerns about safety or quality of care anonymously'

    GOOD !

    That is the point - being able to raise (non ad-hominem) concerns anonymously, so that the issue is looked at in isolation from its 'originator': it really shouldn't matter, who highlights a problem/issue. What matters, is whether the concern 'has got legs'.

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  • I LIKE
    THANKS

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  • do it anonymously and who knows what will become of the concerns raised.....probably nothing.

    none of these solutions actually addresses the corruption that is going on.

    Eventually, when the person who reports problems sees that nothing happens as a result, they will give up.

    sorry to have such a gloomy interpretation of this

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  • Corruption being the key concern.

    Is this instead of computer generated incident forms or alongside?

    Given the time it takes to create computer generated incidents many are missed due to lack of time or staff apathy.

    How many valid concerns/criticisms will be lost due to the anonymous nature of the exercise?

    Is it yet another tick box/ Audit exercise by UHMBT?

    Sorry to be so negative...

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  • Come on people every little helps. Please don't be negative when the powers to be are TRYING for goodness sake. I agree with Michael that it doesn't matter who or how the concern is raised so long as it is. It is then up to management to correct it, so unless any of the cards are thrown away they can be audited. Well done and good luck to them I say.

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  • surely poor care is something which needs to be dealt with instantly in order to prevent exacerbation and putting those being cared for in danger and there must be regular meetings to discuss more generalised issues on standards at team, departmental and organisational level. if people don't talk about nothing will be achieved.

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  • Why do people need to raise concerns anonymously????!!!!! Sort that out and let's stop congratulating a bunch of failures for instituting a measure that only confirms that fact. Jeez.

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  • Bullying can be a big problem when concerns are raised by staff.
    In an ideal world it is best not to feel the need to have to raise concerns anonymously. I am sad to say that carers & nurses do feel fear from staff at the lower, same level and above in a lot of places.
    Bullying does not always come from a boss it can also be from a carer to a nurse.
    However, hospitals with this system in place should not use this system only to monitor, but continue to improve on management as poor management in the first place cause most of the problems we have in the NHS.

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  • deal with the bullying! surely you are not going to be victimised and let bullies take over the organisation. are nurses adults and professionals or not? no wonder there is such a loss of confidence in the health service.

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  • A post-box? This must be one of those joke articles and it's not April. Is someone at Morecombe Bay patting themselves on the back for this one? Pardon me for being cynical and facetious. Please let the concerns be voiced openly to 'accountable' managers. Concerns should be raised, documented, validated (or not) and remedied were possible. No fear of recrimination or ostracism.
    This 'post-box' is an insidious extension of organisational bullying. The culture of fear runs so deep that practitioners/staff are encouraged to sign Anonymous.
    An Anonymous complaint is not a validated one. Why, simply it was not written by a real person? Therefore it can be shrugged off and thrown in the shredder.
    Lets all raise concerns and sign them.
    I'm listing my posting as 'Anonymous' because I'm looking for a new post at the moment. It would appear that my present employers disapprove of signed 'concern' letters.
    D

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  • We have these post boxes in our Trust, only we call them shredders.

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  • Anonymous | 30-Oct-2013 5:28 pm
    Anonymous | 30-Oct-2013 10:08 pm
    Anonymous | 31-Oct-2013 6:25 am

    Exactly!!

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  • Corruption being the key concern.

    Is this instead of computer generated incident forms or alongside?

    Given the time it takes to create computer generated incidents many are missed due to lack of time or staff apathy.

    How many valid concerns/criticisms will be lost due to the anonymous nature of the exercise?

    Is it yet another tick box/ Audit exercise by UHMBT?

    Sorry to be so negative...

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 30-Oct-2013 10:08 pm

    As it seems to be hospital 'management' which controls 'the assessing' of concerns/complaints, what when the issue is something the management 'has imposed', but the front-line feel is bad/dangerous ?

    That is why anonymous raising of concerns (and a 'consideration process' which has got an arms-length from management aspect as well) is necessary: criticising something a bad CE/Board is imposing, is probably like going over the top at The Somme !

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  • Corruption being the key concern.

    Is this instead of computer generated incident forms or alongside?

    Given the time it takes to create computer generated incidents many are missed due to lack of time or staff apathy.

    How many valid concerns/criticisms will be lost due to the anonymous nature of the exercise?

    Is it yet another tick box/ Audit exercise by UHMBT?

    Sorry to be so negative...

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  • Anonymous complaints are even easier to ignore. People offering opinions here who clearly don't work within the NHS!! It is a lot more complicated than simply Management v frontline. The lines are very blurred.

    Anonymous | 31-Oct-2013 7:49 pm

    Spot on.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 1-Nov-2013 9:11 am

    'People offering opinions here who clearly don't work within the NHS!!'

    Erm - most NHS activity involves people who don't work within the NHS: they are called patients, and have a perfectly valid contribution to make to any issue which affects them.

    I agree that it is complicated.

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  • the NHS may benefit if it accepted a few more outside opinions! Not doing so maybe one of the reasons it is so stuck with all of its problems.

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  • michael stone | 1-Nov-2013 10:21 am
    Anonymous | 1-Nov-2013 12:10 pm


    Erm.....no one said that those not working within the NHS couldn't or shouldn't contribute!! You just assumed. Tut, tut.

    Perhaps you should acknowledge the value of the contributions of those who do work within the NHS and for whom this article as a direct effect. The NHS would benefit greatly if it accepted the opinions of its staff. After all, "Not doing so maybe one of the reasons it is so stuck with all of its problems."

    Ya think?!!

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  • michael stone | 1-Nov-2013 10:21 am
    Perhaps you can enlighten us on the procedure for a member of staff instigating and escalating a complaint in the NHS?

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