University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has launched a “freedom to speak up” smart phone application to make it easier for clinical staff to raise concerns.
The trust first launched its Freedom to Speak Up campaign in July 2015, as part of the government’s national initiative that followed Nursing Times’ award-winning Speak Out Safely campaign.
“The purpose of the app is to give staff another way of speaking up if they want to”
It appointed senior radiographer Heather Bruce as its first “freedom to speak up guardian”, a role recommended by Sir Robert Francis’ review into NHS whistleblowing and pioneered in Staffordshire.
It is being gradually adopted by trusts across the country, but more slowly than the Department of Health planned, as recently reported by Nursing Times.
The role is designed to help shift the culture of trusts to one where all staff feel able to raise any issues or concerns and know that they will be addressed confidentially and swiftly.
Morecambe Bay said Ms Bruce had worked hard to make raising concerns as easy as possible, especially for clinical staff that did not always have access to emails or a computer, which was where the idea for the app originated.
The free app allows staff to raise a concern confidentially and from work or home via their phone or tablet, said the trust.
It added that Ms Bruce was then able to look into the issue and support the member of staff who wishes to speak up ensuring that the concern is escalated and addressed appropriately.
Morecambe Bay nurses can raise concerns via pioneering ‘app’
Ms Bruce said: “It is really important that staff not only feel able to raise concerns if they see something that they think isn’t right or that may compromise safe patient care, but that they know they will be listened to and supported by the trust if they do raise a concern.
“The purpose of the app is to give staff another way of speaking up if they want to,” she said. “Everyone has their phone with them at all times these days and use them to do most things so it seemed a logical next step for us.
“The app gives staff all the information they need on raising a concern and what to expect next, and although we prefer it if they give us their name so we can feedback to them on the outcome of their concern, they can submit it anonymously if they wish,” she added.
The trust said its staff can now download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play for Android.