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Freedom to Speak Up Information Session


The National Guardian’s Office is delivering Freedom to Speak Up Information Sessions. These are for anyone who has an interest in the Freedom to Speak Up agenda, and the role and expectations of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. The sessions also serve as Foundation Training for new Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.

These sessions are open to workers in NHS trusts and foundation trusts, independent healthcare providers, regulators, and other professional or oversight bodies.

These interactive workshops are designed to give a broad overview of the principles of Freedom to Speak Up and help participants:

  • Learn more about the background and expectations of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role and its importance in working towards a culture where speaking up is business as usual
  • Develop a better understanding of speaking up and how best to support and respond to the people who do so
  • Identify barriers to speaking up in your organisation and start to think about how to address these
  • Reflect on your feelings about the role and next steps to take whether you are a guardian or supporting speaking up in your organisation
  • Make connections with others in a similar role

Following our train-the-trainer programme, additional Foundation Training sessions for guardians will also soon be delivered regionally.

When

Friday 15 June 2018

Thursday 26 July 2018

Thursday 16 August 2018

Thursday 27 September 2018

Friday 12 October 2018

Thursday 15 November 2018

Friday 14 December 2018

Session times: Registration: 09.30, Start: 10.00, Finish: 16.00


Thursday 21 June 2018

Statement from the National Guardian on Gosport War Memorial Hospital

“Freedom to Speak Up – freedom is when the environment supports speaking up, with the right actions being taken as a result. Without this freedom workers are enslaved in a culture of fear

“It is an insult to everyone that spoke up about the issues at Gosport War Memorial Hospital to say that staff should have raised concerns. It is clear that the reason why dangerous practice persisted was due to the lack of decisive actions by leaders, in many parts of health but also the wider system

“Once again it is the persistence of elected politicians which has shone the disinfectant of sunlight onto the inadequate response to speaking up from workers and families.

“Leaders in all parts of the health system need to take heed from this report – to be aware that individuals in their organisations know about issues about which they do not feel safe to speak up. The call to action is for everyone to listen hard, take the right actions and ignore speaking up at your peril.”

Dr Henrietta Hughes, National Guardian for the NHS


Friday 8 June 2018

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – the ‘Speaking Up Together’ Award

This year the National Guardian’s Office is sponsoring a new category for the HSJ Awards, ‘Creating a Supportive Staff Culture’. In the run up to these awards we are highlighting the winning entries from last year’s Freedom to Speak Up Awards.

Last year Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust won the ‘Speaking Up Together’. This Freedom to Speak Up partnership award recognised the connections and partnerships that are being forged to enable all staff to speak up.

The trust’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff network and the Human Resources leadership team worked in partnership to co-design the ‘People Before Process’ programme, which was developed to ensure that the trust’s BME workforce experience respect and dignity at work and are treated fairly through processes.

The programme encourages open communication to improve the lives and wellbeing of the trust’s BME staff and support equality, diversity and inclusion where everyone feels comfortable about speaking up.


Wednesday 23 May 2018

Andrew Crerar, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust – ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardian of the Year’

This year the National Guardian’s Office is sponsoring a new category for the HSJ Awards, ‘Creating a Supportive Staff Culture’. In the run up to these awards we are highlighting the winning entries from last year’s Freedom to Speak Up Awards.

Last year Andrew Crerar, the previous Freedom to Speak to Up Guardian for Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RNOH), won the ‘Freedom to Speak Up Guardian of the Year’. This recognised the excellence in promoting and supporting Freedom to Speak Up across a trust.

Andrew believes that visible leadership and regular access to senior leaders is key to speaking up. He embedded the guardian role within internal staff engagement campaigns, including the VAL-YOU Behavioural Charter, to drive forward the trust’s organisational focus on staff and quality of care.

To ensure that leaders have the right skills to support speaking up, he created a Leadership Development Portfolio and a suite of tools to help managers embed and role-model the behaviours set out in the VAL-YOU charter. Andrew also helped to pull together a Leadership Compact which outlines the expectations of managerial staff, including listening to their staff.

He instituted monthly Executive Open Clinics in the Outpatient Department. This is a chance for staff to speak with a senior leader of the trust in a private, one-to-one conversation. Workers use this as an opportunity to pass on how well teams are doing, share a specific instance of great patient care, raise a concern or suggest something that will improve the working lives of your colleagues.

He also created a Freedom to Speak Up road map and intranet page which outlines all the tools and resources that are available to staff to report incidents, give feedback and suggest improvements or how speak up about any issues.

Andrew Crerar said, "Having the opportunity to support the RNOH as a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian was a privilege and one that provided me a great deal of satisfaction. I enjoyed the chance to meet colleagues from across the trust and help make it a better place to work for everyone.

He said, “The recognition we received through the national award was humbling, as it validated the great work of a committed team of people across the RNOH. A real change in how safe we feel to raise concerns and challenge the things we know to be wrong takes more than just a team of guardians, but the support of leaders, teams and patients – a journey we are making great progress towards."


Friday 9 May 2018

Heather Bruce, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust – ‘Speaking Up: the Freedom to Speak Up Communications Award’

This year the National Guardian’s Office is sponsoring a new category for the HSJ Awards, ‘Creating a Supportive Staff Culture’. In the run up to these awards we are highlighting the winning entries from last year’s Freedom to Speak Up Awards.

Last year Heather Bruce, Freedom to Speak to Up Guardian for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), won the ‘Speaking Up: the Freedom to Speak Up Communications Award’. This recognised creativity and innovation in spreading the Freedom to Speak Up message.

As a clinical member of staff, Heather understands that not all NHS workers have time to access trust communications on the intranet and utilised other channels to provide accessible and alternative routes for staff to speak up to her.

Heather worked in partnership with the trust’s communications team to broadcast speaking up messages that increased the visibility and accessibility of her role. These included obtaining an innovative app for mobile devices, site visits, messages for hospital posters and the fortnightly corporate induction. The trust also installed the Freedom to Speak Up app on the ward iPads.

She also publicised her role in the local and national press and, due to the success of this promotion, she was invited to speak at various national events and Radio 4, which has helped increase the role’s visibility within and outside her trust.

Heather Bruce said, “Communication is key for speaking up to be successful. It helps ensure that the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian remains an accessible, proactive and visible role for all who work in the trust so that they do not hesitate to speak up about patient safety and staff experiences.

She said, “It is essential that everyone who works at UHMBT including staff, students, volunteers, locums and governors can easily go to the guardian. Successfully communicating the role with all helps them understand how to speak up and know that their concerns will be welcomed and addressed.”

Heather acknowledges that she is lucky to have the firm support of the Board to continue with the Freedom to Speak Up campaign.


Wednesday 9 May 2018

Dr Nick Harper, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Learning from Speaking Up

This year the National Guardian’s Office is sponsoring a new category for the HSJ Awards, ‘Creating a Supportive Staff Culture’. In the run up to these awards we are highlighting the winning entries from last year’s Freedom to Speak Up Awards.

Last year, Dr Nick Harper won ‘the Freedom to Speak Up Learning Award’. This recognised how speaking up is being used to promote learning and improvements across organisations.

Nick has used his own experience of speaking up when mentoring and presenting to different staff groups, demonstrating how the lessons learnt can facilitate speaking up. He has used his experience as a positive influence for NHS workers during induction of new staff, trainees, work experience, apprenticeships and new consultants and senior doctors.

Dr Harper has also met with CQC inspectors to give an account of his experience of speaking up so that inspectors can understand the impact on the personal and professional life of workers when best speaking up practice is not followed.

Dr Nick Harper, Freedom to Speak Up Executive, said, “I was humbled to win last year’s award. It’s important to work with a range of colleagues from different organisations to develop processes that ensure lessons are learnt and colleagues are praised for speaking up and not criticised.

He said, “As someone who has spoken up about patient safety throughout my career, I believe it is important that we ensure the wellbeing of staff groups, particularly new staff, which should be at the heart of all speaking up processes. Every NHS worker, wherever they are in their careers, should feel able to speak up safely.”


Wednesday 2 May 2018

Guidance for NHS trust and foundation trust boards on Freedom to Speak Up

We are pleased to announce today the publication of guidance for NHS trust and NHS foundation trust Boards on Freedom to Speak Up. This guidance has been produced jointly by the National Guardian’s Office and NHS Improvement. It sets out expectations of boards and board members in relation to Freedom to Speak Up. It also includes important guidance for Freedom to Speak Up Guardians on their relationship with Board members, and reporting to their Boards


Wednesday 2 May 2018

Kirsty McMullan, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – Leading the Change for Speaking Up to Becoming Business as Usual

This year the National Guardian’s Office is sponsoring a new category for the HSJ Awards, ‘Creating a Supportive Staff Culture’. In the run up to these awards we are highlighting the winning entries from last year’s Freedom to Speak Up Awards.

Last year Kirsty McMullan won the award for ‘Leading the Change for Speaking Up to Becoming Business as Usual’. This recognised anyone or any team who demonstrated leadership that will create the change to make speaking up business as usual.

Kirsty McMullan, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, has worked to establish a network of support across her trust to respond effectively to concerns that are raised. The Chief Executive and other directors make regular site visits and speak directly to staff and hear their perspective on the concerns they have identified.

Kirsty has also built strong relationships with the board, executive directors, divisional managers, human resources and the her trust’s diversity team to ensure that actions are initiated by the right person at the right time and fed back to colleagues.

Kirsty said, “I’m delighted to have won this award. Adopting an outcome focused approach has helped me to maintain a clear perspective on issues of safety to improve patient experience. When workers speak up they are not only being listened to, but actions are being taken.”

She said, “Attending staff roadshows, drop-in sessions and publicising anonymised case details in regular newsletters helps reassure colleagues who have spoken up that they can make a difference. It also demonstrates to the wider staff community that speaking up is celebrated as a means of improving quality of care for patients and staff.”

The feedback that Kirsty receives from colleagues who have spoken up gives a real sense that workers in the trust are starting to develop confidence in the Guardian role.

One worker commented, “I felt my concern was dealt with appropriately and my identity was protected.”

They said, “I received regular feedback on progress and felt like my concerns were taken seriously. Kirsty was proactive in pursuing a response. I felt that speaking up made managers consider more appropriate actions, and I felt confident that if those actions are not implemented, then Kirsty will support me to speak up again.”

Click here to enter this year’s HSJ Awards. The deadline for entries is Thursday 31 May.


Friday 20 April 2018

Guardian Education and Training Guide now available

The National Guardian’s Office has announced the publication of the Education and Training Guide for Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. The guide has been produced in partnership with Health Education England and the NHS Leadership Academy.

The new guide will help guardians improve their skills and knowledge so that they can offer the best possible service for NHS workers who wish to speak up about issues such as patient safety, quality of care or staff experiences.

The National Guardian’s Office recommends that this guide is used alongside the new universal job description and Foundation Training for guardians, which will soon be delivered regionally following the Train the Trainer programme.

The Education and Training Guide is designed to be used at a personal level to identify and address learning needs, but those achieving success will be able to share their learning at a regional level to help everyone in their network raise their level.


7 February 2018

Anonymous report of barriers to speaking up in a Greater London hospital trust

The National Guardian's Office has recently received an anonymous letter from a group of consultants at a hospital trust in Greater London. The letter concerns reports of bullying and intimidation at the trust, and failure to adhere to the trust's speaking up policy.

We would like to thank the individuals who have brought this to our attention. We understand that regulators intend to take action to look into these issues. If anyone involved wishes to submit a case for this office to review, we would encourage them to do so. Details of our case review process can be found here.


Government to extend protections for NHS whistleblowers

NHS whistleblowers will be better protected by new rules that prohibit discrimination against them if they seek re-employment in the NHS.

On Monday the Department of Health published, and launched a consultation closing on 12 May 2017 on draft regulations to protect whistleblowers seeking jobs in the NHS.

The plans will prohibit discrimination against whistleblowers when they apply for jobs with NHS employers, strengthen the legal recourse they can access if they believe they have been discriminated against because it appears they have blown the whistle - with appropriate remedies if their complaint is upheld.

The published consultation includes draft regulations that aim to:

  • Give the applicant a right to complain to an employment tribunal if they have been discriminated against because it appears they have previously blown the whistle.
  • Set out a timeframe in which a complaint to the tribunal must be lodged.
  • Set out the remedies which the tribunal may or must award if a complaint is upheld.
  • Make provision as to the amount of compensation that can be awarded.
  • Give the applicant a right to bring a claim in the County Court or the High Court for breach of statutory duty in order to, amongst other things, restrain or prevent discriminatory conduct.
  • Treat discrimination of an applicant by a worker or agent of the prospective employer (NHS body), as if it was discrimination by the NHS body itself.

This consultation aims to address this discrimination and provides the Secretary of State with a power, through regulations, to prohibit certain NHS public bodies from discriminating against an applicant because it appears to the NHS employer that the applicant has previously made a protected disclosure under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Since the tragic events of Mid Staffs we have made considerable progress to making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world including appointing a National Guardian and making sure every NHS organisation has a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

Last updated:
21 August 2018