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Shropshire community health trust's ‘speaking up culture’ praised

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Coronavirus | Published:

The health organisation responsible for community services in Shropshire has seen its ‘speaking up culture’ celebrated in a national report.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (Shropcom) has ranked inside the top 15 per cent out of all NHS trusts in the Freedom To Speak Up Index 2020, which has been published by NHS England and the National Guardian’s Office.

The index monitors ‘speaking up culture’ in the NHS.

It gives each trust a score which is based on four questions from the annual NHS staff survey, including whether staff feel secure raising concerns if they see something unsafe.

Shropcom – which provides a wide range of community services to people in Shropshire and Telford, and children’s services in Dudley – scores 82.4 per cent in the index, against a national average of 78.7 per cent.

The trust says it has fully embraced the Freedom To Speak Up initiative and actively encourages staff to talk about concerns.

Shropcom has a Freedom To Speak Up guardian backed up by 10 Freedom To Speak Up advocates.

Steve Gregory, executive director of nursing, said: “It is so important that we listen to our staff and hear their ideas and their concerns. Our own people know better than anyone what we do well and are encouraged to speak up and tell us where there is room for improvement.

“We are proud of our open, transparent culture – it was noted by the Care Quality Commission last year when they rated our services as good, and it is pleasing to see that reflected in the 2020 edition of this index.

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“As we have faced up to the unique challenges presented by Covid-19 in recent months, it has been more important than ever to make sure we are listening to what our staff have had to say.”

Shropcom’s score places it within the top 30 trusts in the country, and close to top-performing Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which scored 86.6 per cent.

Alison Trumper, Freedom To Speak Up guardian at Shropcom, said: “Working in an open, honest and supportive culture is key to delivering high standards of care, as well as staff and patient experience. We have seen that more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Freedom To Speak Up advocates are there to support staff, but there are lots of other ways people can speak up.

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"We encourage staff to talk to their manager, team leader, tutor or clinical supervisor first, and to use the Datix incident reporting system.

“Our supportive, open and caring culture has remained steadfast during our response to the pandemic, which has contributed to staff continuing to feel safe and supported in raising any concerns about things that are troubling them directly to their managers and their leaders. This is important all the time, but particularly during a period of crisis.”

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “In the NHS, speaking up is a fundamental matter of patient and staff safety, which is why we are so determined that NHS employers should support anyone who wants to make their voice heard.

“Freedom to Speak Up guardians are therefore a powerful force for good in helping this happen.

"NHS England is proud to have tripled our funding to support them across the NHS.

“The impact of Covid-19 will be felt for a long time, but all the evidence shows that when colleagues feel empowered to speak up, the NHS will make great progress in our founding mission of health high quality care – for all.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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