Hospital trust appoints Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has become one of the first NHS trusts in the country to name a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

Sir Robert Francis’s report into the culture of raising concerns within the NHS, which was published in February 2015, highlighted the need to have a dedicated individual to ensure staff felt confident in raising a concern.

Heather Bruce, senior radiographer at Furness General Hospital, was successfully appointed into the role, which will be integral to shaping the trust’s culture to be one where all staff feel able to challenge any wrongdoing and raise any issues or concerns – knowing that they will be addressed confidentially, swiftly, and in line with good practice.

Bruce Jassi, UHMBT’s non-executive director, said: “The very best organisations in the world encourage an open culture where staff have no fear in raising concerns.

“The appointment of a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian is another step forward to ensuring that our Trust leads the way in supporting staff whenever they need it.”

David Wilkinson, director of workforce and organisational development, said: “It is vitally important to us that our staff not only feel able to raise any concerns or worries but that they are also confident that we will support them every step of the way, and make any changes necessary to ensure we continue to offer safe care to our patients.

“We began our recruitment process for a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian three months ago to look for someone who we believe has the clinical knowledge to know what ‘good’ looks like for our patients, and also someone who staff would respect and trust.

“I’m delighted that Heather has agreed to become our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

“She is one of the first to be appointed across the country and I know she are looking forward to embracing the new role and make a difference for our staff and patients.”

As part of the government’s recent ‘Learning Not Blaming’ response, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, committed to a number of measures from the review, including the appointment of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in all local NHS organisations.