Freedom to Speak Up
Excellent care and patient experience flourishes in an open and honest environment. Sometimes things can go wrong or the things we do can fall short of the standards we expect of ourselves and others.
When this happens it is important we all feel able to freely speak up and raise our concerns, and for those concerns to be heard and acted upon.
NUH has its own Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and divisional Champions who are there to help support you.
They act as an independent and impartial source of advice to staff at any stage of raising a concern.
The network of Freedom to Speak Up Champions can also offer guidance and support to NUH staff, contractors, volunteers and students.
It is not easy to raise concerns and sometimes difficult to know what to do. If you raise a concern you should always receive feedback and never be victimised. If you feel this is the case please contact the Guardian or one of your local champions.
NHS Trust Board Pledge
Our Trust Board is committed to an open culture. It has signed up to the ‘NUH Board Speak Up Pledge’ which assures:
- consideration of all concerns.
- communication of outcomes and action.
- consistency of responses.
- care and support given to those reporting concerns
Meet the Freedom to Speak Up Team
The Board is committed to creating an open culture at NUH and has nominated responsible officers.
Non-Executive Director- Julie Pomeroy Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Corporate Governance – Michelle Rogan email@example.com
The trust Chair and CEO can be contacted directly if you have serious concerns about quality of care.
Kathy Kirkwood, our Head of Assurance, will provide cover as our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian until the next Guardian is appointed.
Kathy can be contacted by email or by calling x51015. Alternatively, you can follow @NUHSpeakUp or visit the intranet for details of your local champions and FAQs.
Clare Cooper - Junior Doctor Liaison Officer
Tel: 0115 924 9924 Ext: 69018
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I speak up anonymously?
Yes in most situations you can. However, most people do identify themselves when speaking up. During an investigation process having known witnesses can speed up the process and make it more robust. Also if we do not know who you are it is impossible for us to take proactive steps to protect you. Confidentiality differs from anonymity in that someone will know your identity but this is not revealed until it is legally necessary or you give your express permission to do so.
What if I realise my concern was incorrect or an investigation shows a legitimate explanation to the wrongdoing I highlighted?
As NHS professionals we have a duty to adhere to the NHS constitution principles and our respective professional bodies’ codes of conduct. As individuals we also have a moral duty to raise concerns. If you do so in good faith and subsequently it is found that there you were mistaken you will be thanked for raising the concern and the Trust will commit to protecting you from suffering detriment.
I raised a concern about repeated patient safety incidents to my supervisor but nothing has happened, what shall I do?
Contact your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. When you raise a concern you have the right to receive feedback about what action is to be taken. Where no action is deemed appropriate you should receive feedback and an explanation as to why this is the case.
I am a manager and a member of my team reported a concern which involves an HR investigation and I have been told this is confidential. How to I provide feedback to my team member?
Anyone who raises a concern should receive feedback in a timely manner. Confidentiality cannot be used as a reason to not provide this. There are ways of communicating what is being done and even outcomes without compromising confidentiality. In order to ensure a clear and effective message we must keep in mind that sanctions or HR decisions may actually be visible to staff. Contact your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian for further advice.
I have an idea about improving the Speak-Up Culture - who can I speak to?
Please get in touch with your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. People working on the front line are best placed to understand the impact raising concerns can have and the changes that may be needed.
I believe my supervisor/colleague is covering up unsafe practice in order to meet certain mandated targets. I’m afraid reporting her means she will make my job difficult. What can I do?
If you do not feel comfortable talking to your supervisor about it there are other resources listed in Section 6 of the Trust’s Whistleblowing Policy. NUH will not tolerate retaliation in any form against a person who raises a legitimate concern.
Can I just go to the press?
If your goal is to resolve a Trust problem it is best practice to use internal policies and procedures. In the event that these are not appropriate there are other external bodies that may help. The Press may be able to raise public awareness of a concern but they are not there to help resolve these. In this respect speaking to the press can be counter-productive when aiming to make positive change.
I am being bullied who do I speak to?
You can speak to your Freedom to Speak up Guardian or Champions for advice and support. Cases of individual bullying fall under the Dignity at Work Policy administered by Human Resources. Where there are repeated cases involving multiple members of staff or within a team which are persistent this is something that you can raise through the whistleblowing policy.