Local hospital Trust visited by National Guardian for NHS

Doncaster Royal Infirmary was visited by Dr Henrietta Hughes in December, the National Guardian for the NHS, a role that was a key recommendation from Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up Review in response to the Mid-Staffordshire scandal.

The purpose of Dr Hughes’ visit was to meet with Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital’s (DBTH) Freedom To Speak Up Guardians (FTSUG), Executive Directors and, most importantly, members of the team.  Dr Hughes provides national leadership to Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in all NHS trusts and provides challenge, learning and support to the healthcare system as a whole by reviewing trusts’ speaking up cultures.

Freedom To Speak Up Guardians support the Trust to become a more open place to work, where all staff feel confident to speak up about patient care at all times.  Made up of the Trust’s public and staff Governors as well as a doctor, the Guardians work alongside the organisation’s leadership teams in order to elevate the profile of raising concerns.

Guardians have been in post at DBTH since October 2016, and during this time have been developing into their roles and embedding into the Trust. As part of their role, they have helped to revise and update the Whistleblowing Policy within the organisation, worked with the IT team to create a confidential phone line and email inbox for staff to raise concerns as well as attending numerous events and new-staff inductions to further introduce themselves to the organisation.

Lynn Goy, Lead Guardian and Staff Governor for Nurses and Midwives said: “It was fantastic to welcome Dr Hughes into the Trust to meet with staff and further promote the role of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, ensuring that members of Team DBTH feel comfortable to raise any concerns or worries they may have.

“As Guardians we are here for anyone who has a serious concern and ask staff to get in touch if they see anything wrong and we will do our best to guide them through the process to ensure it is brought to the attention of the relevant people.”

Dr Henrietta Hughes, National Guardian for the NHS, said: “I was pleased to hear about the Board’s commitment to speaking up and was keen to learn about the work undertaken by the Trust to address staff concerns so that they can deliver high quality patient care.

“The Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are leading this work and providing feedback to staff about actions that are being taken to improve patient care and staff experience.  Staff will always speak up about patient safety if they know that the right action is being taken.”

During 2018 the Guardians are aiming to increase their presence and accessibility at the Trust by hosting and attending staff meetings while also aiming to provide quarterly updates through the organisation’s weekly newsletter, highlighting the ‘themes’ of concerns raised by anonymous members of the team and the actions taken as a result.