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NHS staff to get toolkit on raising concerns 'over next 12 months'


Nurse students, trainees and qualified staff will be able to use new toolkits about patient safety and raising concerns by the end of the year, Health Education England has confirmed.

The workforce development body has launched a new commission on education and training for patient safety, which it said would result in every member of NHS staff receiving “robust” new training in how to raise concerns about the way patients are treated.

It comes in response to Sir Robert Francis QC’s independent report on whistleblowing, the Freedom to Speak Up review, which included a recommendation that all staff and students should be taught about speaking out.

Training for students about raising concerns should be “embedded” within undergraduate and postgraduate courses, said the report, which was published last week.

“Patient safety should be the number one concern of all who serve patients in the NHS – the first and most important lesson they learn”

Ian Cumming

The new commission, which will be chaired by outgoing president of the Royal College of Surgeons Sir Norman Williams and be advised by nurse whistleblower Helene Donnelly, will focus on four themes.

One of these is looking at how staff are supported to raise and report concerns, while another is about exploring how mandatory training – existing and potentially new types – can improve patient safety.

Another theme is to explore how students and staff are taught about human factors– such as learning styles, behaviours and values, leadership and organisational culture – and how they can be adapted as patients’ needs change.

Service improvement science, which provides evidence on the best methods for improving the quality and safety of health services, is the final theme of the commission’s work.

HEE said it would begin to publish its findings this spring and make available new toolkits to all NHS student and staff – clinical and non-clinical – from the autumn.

Chief executive Professor Ian Cumming said: “High quality education and training is the basis of high quality, safe and effective patient care.

“Patient safety should be the number one concern of all who serve patients in the NHS – the first and most important lesson they learn,” he said



Readers' comments (8)

  • It sounds hopeful!

    I hope it's not too restrictive and includes something on adverse working conditions for frontline clinicians, which do affect patient safety.

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  • I agree, hopefully it will be something that's actively promoted by employers and not have the onus placed on frontline staff having to raise concerns. ie a senior manager can see/experience problems, they should also raise their concerns rather than wait for someone on the "frontline" do it later.

    I would hope employers get rid of (or reduce) the bureaucracy of staff having to claim back extra hours worked to complete their clinical duties. When staff are already giving so much and not remunerated appropriately, this might/has lead to unsafe practices, and should be reported as a concern too.
    Due to lack of staff, forget TOIL, just pay OT (unless contract says otherwise).

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  • Given the record to date, as well as giving people the toolkit to raise concerns, organisations should be looking long and hard at how they respond to those concerns. While it is true that in some cases the eventual whistleblower raised concerns others were already aware of but had not acted on, in others in the long history of whistleblowing a number of attempts were made by a variety of staff to raise them with their immediate manager.
    Managers as well as staff have a responsibility to escalate concerns rather than discourage the people raising them (as has been too often the case)- a proper safety and quality conscious organisational culture which all own and are part of is a much more effective response than creating a single new role of whistleblowing guardian. It is important of course that students are trained to play their part in this, but this is not a cure by itself.

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  • This will be a really good strategy, it will ensure all NHS staff are delivering the best service possible and enhance the care they provide to patients, because if they don't put the patients at the heart of care we will face consequences.

    I think an article should be dedicated on the 12-14 hours shift nurses do, I mean I am sure the long hours of work has a huge impact on nurses and the standard of care they provide?

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  • is the whistle included in the tool kit? is it plastic or metal? how loud is it?

    for goodness sake grow up. all you need is colleagues and managers with whom you can discuss your work as you go along and more formally on a regular basis, who will share with you in mutual listening and where you can all voice any of your concerns. stop making such massive mountains out of microscopic molehills and go and look after your patients! as you build therapeutic and trusting relationships with your patients the same applies also to your colleagues. treat them with respect and your efforts will be reciprocated.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Feb-2015 2:40 pm

    Well said! Unfortunately people have got so 'tick box' reliant that they are unable to do anything unless someone who has never touched a patient in years, or indeed ever touched one at all, has given them an idiot sheet to consult.

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  • The above two comments show a lack of knowledge of reality.

    People have discussions about patient care and activities all the time.

    Yet the need for a proper structure for whistleblowing is sadly lacking. A brief review of media reports, apart from anything else, will easily show this.

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  • carrie-ann | 16-Feb-2015 5:12 pm

    open your eyes and go and work elsewhere and you will see this appalling attitude and behaviour is almost exclusive to the UK and possibly other Anglo-Saxon lands. sadly it is deeply inherent in the British character and no tool kits ain't going to help the sheep!

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