An open and honest culture that empowers staff to speak-up about concerns must be a priority to maintain and improve quality of care during the current NHS shake-up, a report has warned.
It is “critically important” the NHS thinks creatively about “better ways” of ensuring staff feel they can speak, according to the report from the NHS National Quality Board.
It states: “Healthcare professionals working at the front line are ultimately responsible for ensuring patients receive high quality care and how it is their professional duty to speak up if they have concerns.”
It adds: “NHS organisations should ensure that an open and honest culture, where all staff feel empowered to make improvements and feel able to raise concerns, prevails.”
The document – titled “Maintaining and improving quality during the transition” – is the first of a two part series of recommendations designed to help organisations protect patient care as reforms take place.
The board also intends to publish a leaflet to “remind staff of their responsibilities to speak-up” if they are concerned about quality of care.
The board – chaired by NHS chief executive David Nicholson – was established in 2009 to set targets for improving quality across the NHS. Chief nursing officer for England Dame Christine Beasley and Professor Hilary Chapman, chief nurse and chief operating officer at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are also members of the board.
The call for action on staff engagement comes just after publication of the latest NHS staff survey, which revealed the majority of NHS personnel do not feel included in decision-making by senior managers (page 5).
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