I was invited by Rob Webster and Stuart Poynor, chief executives of Leeds Community Health and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust, respectively, to speak to 19 community trust chief executives at their London meeting.
En masse, they all agreed to sign up and pledge their support to the campaign.
Many of them are running their own initiatives to encourage staff to raise concerns when they think something is wrong, but I urged them all to use Speak Out Safely as a national pledge to give weight to their local campaigns.
Of course, making an explicit and public commitment like this is just the start of your journey to having an open and transparent organisation.
We don’t want this to be a tick-box exercise, where you put up our SOS logo (fabulously purple though it is) and a pledge, and forget about it. What we’ve discovered while we’ve been working on this campaign is that having a candid and honest culture involves everyone in the organisation from the top down role modeling behaviours they want to see. Encouraging and supporting staff when they raise concerns, taking prompt action and giving them feedback. Chief executives must get out into their wards or units and meet their staff. Visits should be unannounced, doors of the board members should be open. Don’t wait for the complaints and issues to come to you. Go out and seek them. Because you will find them.
As Stuart said in the meeting yesterday, if you think you haven’t got a problem in your organisation, you probably have.
So if you’re running your own raising concerns policy, great. But join forces with us and make it stronger. Let working with us and a national commitment from all trusts strengthen your commitment and your focus.
If you’ve not signed up to Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign yet, why not? Details of how to do it are on nursingtimes.net/sos. It’s easy, and it will improve the lives of your staff and patients. We’ve no doubt about that.
Jenni Middleton, editor
Follow me on Twitter: @nursingtimesed