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Freedom to Speak up

Raising and Escalating concerns to keep our patients safe

Freedom to Speak Up has come about as a direct result of the lessons learnt from the 2013 Francis Report on the Mid Staffs Scandal public inquiry.

Robert Francis published his Freedom to Speak Up review on 11th February 2015, and found that historically where staff had tried to speak up in the NHS, their concerns were often not welcomed and, in the worst cases, the staff were treated very badly.

This endangers patients as we need to empower staff to be able to raise concerns, particularly where vulnerable patients are concerned.

UHMBT launched its FTSU campaign shortly after the publication of the FTSU review. We were one of the first Trusts in the country to appoint a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, and as such we are recognised nationally as leaders in supporting staff to raise concerns.

Heather Bruce started in post in July 2015 and the role has evolved since then.

Since the campaign started our FTSU Guardian Heather has been involved in work nationally and regionally. The National Guardian visited the Trust in June 2017 and met with our CEO and some of our frontline staff.

In October 2017, the Trust won the first ever Freedom to Speak up Communications award and was recognised as having combined digital and traditional communications to engage with the organisation and frontline teams – “giving them the confidence and tools to have the Freedom to Speak up”.

The Trust was also recognised as “not content to spread the word within their organisation, they have taken a leadership responsibility and have shared their progress in the media and at national forums.”

Heather has spent a year as regional lead for the Northwest FTSU network, and is still very involved in supporting other Trusts through sharing learning and experience at UHMBT.

The FTSU campaign, making Raising Concerns business as usual, does not succeed in isolation, and is intrinsically linked to the culture of the organisation.

The Behavioural Standards Framework (BSF) underpins this culture so that everyone who works in UHMBT feels confident and supported to raise and report concerns for the benefit of all.

The BSF has empowered staff to uphold the highest standards of behaviours, and to challenge any that fall outside of the framework. This cultural support underpins the Freedom to Speak up campaign.

The FTSU campaign has been expanded from September 2018 to embrace the arrival of our staff from community services so that all staff feel supported to raise concerns for the benefit of our patients.

If any staff, volunteers, trainees, students or governors have any concerns regarding patient or staff health and safety, professional or ethical misconduct, bullying, or any other matters that do not reflect what we expect as part of our vision and values, Heather Bruce (our FTSU Guardian) is here to offer advice and support. Heather’s role is to provide guidance and advice on how those working in our services may raise and escalate concerns, including outside of usual line management structures.

If you want to discuss a concern with Heather, do not hesitate to get in touch and a meeting can be arranged at a mutually agreed time and place on or off Trust premises. All concerns are treated confidentially.

Step 1 – If possible, raise your concern at the time.

Step 2 – Raise with your line manager if that is appropriate.

Step 3 – If you remain concerned, contact on 07890 587013

Step 4 – If you do not feel that the matter has been handled correctly, you can contact:

• Bruce Jassi, Lead non-executive Director, on;
• Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, on;

Step 5 – If you feel that this matter cannot be dealt with within the Trust then you can raise your concern by phoning the national whistle-blowing helpline on 0800 0724725 or contacting the Care Quality Commission;

Don’t forget that at any time, you can contact your Union Reps and/or our Respect Champions for advice and support.

Just go to the App store or Playstore and look for UHMBT, Freedom to Speak Up or any of our main sites and you will find it. The app allows you to raise concerns from your phone. The app also has links to our policy – please remember that if you put your concern in anonymously then you will not get feedback.