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About Us

Speak Out Safely

We (West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust) are committed to reassuring our staff and volunteers that any concerns they may have will be addressed in an honest and transparent way and that employees who raise a concern will not be at risk of losing their job or suffering any detriment.

We have signed up to a national campaign aimed at ensuring NHS staff can raise any concerns they may have about patient safety without fear of reprisals.  We fully support the principles of the Nursing Times’ call for Speak Out Safely which was launched in the wake of the Francis report into events at Mid Staffordshire hospitals. This means we encourage any staff member who has a genuine patient safety concern to raise this within our organisation at the earliest opportunity.

Details of how our staff are supported when they raise genuine concerns are available in our whistle-blowing policy.

Our Chief Nurse is Jackie Ardley.  She said: “As you would expect, delivering high quality safe patient care is our number one priority and we believe our staff are best placed to identify where care may be falling below the standards our patients deserve. As such, we want every member of staff to feel able to raise concerns with their line manager, or another member of the management team.   

“We want our staff to know that we support them and that we will not tolerate any harassment or criticism of employees who raise a genuine concern under our whistle-blowing policy.

“We were extremely privileged to have Julie Bailey as our key note speaker at our recent leadership conference (September 2013).   Author of From Ward to Whitehall (the story of Julie’s mum’s care at Mid-Staffordshire hospitals) and founder of Cure the NHS, Julie was instrumental in campaigning for, and getting a public Inquiry into the events at Mid-Staffordshire, led by Robert Francis, QC.  Her captivating story and remarkable example of ‘speaking out’ demonstrates the absolute importance of staff raising concerns about patients safety.

“We hope our support of the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign provides further reassurance to our patients, staff and volunteers that we support a culture of openness, honesty and transparency.”

Our public pledge to the Speak Out Safely principles states:

SOS Pledge

Picture of the Speak Out Safely logoThis trust supports the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign. This means we encourage any staff member who has a genuine patient safety concern to raise this within the organisation at the earliest opportunity.

Patient safety is our prime concern and our staff are often best placed to identify where care may be falling below the standard our patients deserve. In order to ensure our high standards continue to be met, we want every member of our staff to feel able to raise concerns with their line manager, or another member of the management team. We want everyone in the organisation to feel able to highlight wrongdoing or poor practice when they see it and confident that their concerns will be addressed in a constructive way.

We promise that where staff identify a genuine patient safety concern, we shall not treat them with prejudice and they will not suffer any detriment to their career. Instead, we will support them, fully investigate and, if appropriate, act on their concern. We will also give them feedback about how we have responded to the issue they have raised, as soon as possible.

It is not disloyal to colleagues to raise concerns; it is a duty to our patients. Misconduct or malpractice should never be tolerated, while mistakes and poor practice may reveal a colleague needs more training or support, or that we need to change systems or processes. Your concerns will be dealt with in an open and supportive manner because we rely on you to ensure we deliver a safe service and ensure patient safety is not put at risk. We also want this organisation to have the confidence to admit to mistakes and to use them as learning opportunities.

Whether you are a permanent employee, an agency or temporary staff member, or a volunteer, please speak up when you feel something is wrong. We want you to be able to Speak Out Safely.

Click here for more information about the Speak Out Safely campaign.

Petition

Sign the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely petition and help to protect staff who speak out.

Whistle-blowing Policy

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is committed to achieving the highest possible standards of quality, openness and accountability in all of its practices. To achieve these aims the Trust welcomes staff raising their concerns about health care, safety, malpractice, fraud or damage to the environment. The Trust also encourages its staff to use internal mechanisms to report any illegal acts or omissions by employees or ex-employees. Details of how Trust staff are supported when they raise genuine concerns are available in the Trust's Whistle-blowing policy - v5 August 2013.

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