Quality Care - everyone, everytime
THOMAS Vaughan serious - Oct 2017
Staff encouraged to speak up
08 November 2017

Staff encouraged to speak up

Trust to launch anti-bullying campaign

Speaking at the Trust Board meeting today (Wednesday 8th November) Isle of Wight NHS Trust Chairman Vaughan Thomas made a strong statement about the need for staff to speak up and for the pace of change in the Trust to be increased.   The statement is attached.

After the meeting Mr Thomas said: “In my statement to the Trust Board I made clear that if we are to retain and build confidence amongst our local community then staff and volunteers must feel able to speak up about issues.   It is only through the Trust being aware of problems that they can be addressed. We need to encourage openness and honest reflection amongst staff and change the culture of the past.

“Next week we launch our new initiative on Anti Bullying and Freedom to Speak Up. I am grateful to our staff who agreed to take on the roles of Advisors and Advocates and have given up time for the training involved.   I want to reassure them and Trust staff and volunteers that the Trust Board will work to protect individuals who do speak up and will address issues promptly.”

Speaking about the pace of change in the organisation, Mr Thomas said: “I am concerned that we need to move much faster on the change required to get us to good. Our new reinvigorated management team have a huge agenda to deliver change across the whole organisation and we are seeing some initial results. However the scale of the challenge is significant and as an organisation we need to pick up the pace of change.”


This has been a difficult period for the Trust with media coverage of several difficult inquests, one ‘on going’, and General Medical Council (GMC) involvement with a doctor who used to work here. However difficult we may think this news is, it is nothing by comparison with the effect such failings have on those who use our services.   We have and continue to offer our sincere apologies to those affected.

Some of the issues raised in one recent inquest have taken two years to resolve. If we are to retain and build the confidence of local people, our key stakeholders and our staff and volunteers, we must as a Board and organisation enable improvement to be done ‘at pace’ - in a fast and efficient way - ensuring that everyone who needs to be involved has an opportunity to raise issues and contribute.

In every walk of life people sometimes make mistakes. It is right and proper that we as a Trust should investigate all incidents, make sure the full facts are available, co-operate fully with the Coroner and ensure that we all learn the lessons. It is also right and proper that our media report on these issues in line with their professional codes of conduct.

Depending on the issues involved, it is also vital that serious incidents are referred to professional or regulatory bodies - such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the General Medical Council (GMC), the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) - so that an independent assessment can be made.

It is only through transparency and honest reflection in difficult circumstances that we can all learn, and it is through this learning that improvements to the quality of our services can be made. Without transparency and honesty, no improvements are possible.

We know that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found Trust staff to be caring in both the reports following the inspections in 2014 and 2016. We also know that trust staff have reported concerns about bullying. A bullying culture inevitably suppresses honesty and impedes transparency. None of these things are acceptable.

Next week the Trust launches a new anti-bullying campaign. We have a ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ guardian – Leisa Gardiner – supported by recently appointed ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ advocates.  Their role is to, independent of leadership and management, be available to Trust staff and volunteers so that concerns can be raised. Our role as leaders is to support Leisa and her colleagues in protecting staff who raise concerns, support the full factual investigation of concerns and determine the course of action to ensure safe and high quality services.

Both Maggie and I would urge all staff and volunteers who have concerns, to raise them. As a management team, we pledge to put all of the support structures in place so that members of our staff can raise any concerns they have - and that these issues will be investigated immediately. It is no longer acceptable for those who have concerns to feel they have to remain silent or think that nothing will be done. The Trust needs to understand its issues and address them if we are to continue to improve our services and deliver the safe high quality healthcare that islanders deserve.


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