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Freedom to Speak up

Raising and Escalating concerns to keep our patients safe

At UHMBT we want our colleagues to feel safe to raise concerns about patient safety and colleague well-being which is why we prioritise speaking up as business as usual.

Freedom to Speak Up has come about as a direct result of the lessons learnt from the 2013 Francis Report on the Mid Staffs Scandal public inquiry.

Robert Francis published his Freedom to Speak Up review on 11th February 2015, and found that historically where staff had tried to speak up in the NHS, their concerns were often not welcomed and, in the worst cases, the staff were treated very badly.

This endangers patients as we need to empower colleagues to be able to raise concerns, particularly where vulnerable patients are concerned.

UHMBT launched its FTSU campaign shortly after the publication of the FTSU review. We were one of the first Trusts in the country to appoint a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Heather Bruce started in post in July 2015 and the role has evolved since then with Wesley Blondel joining Heather in August 2020 so that we now have two Freedom to Speak up Guardians.

Heather and Wesley are members of the Northwest FTSU network, and they are involved in supporting other Trusts through sharing learning and experience from UHMBT.

The FTSU campaign, making Raising Concerns business as usual, does not succeed in isolation, and is intrinsically linked to the culture of the organisation.

The Behavioural Standards Framework (BSF) underpins this culture so that everyone who works in UHMBT feels confident and supported to raise and report concerns for the benefit of all.

The BSF has empowered staff to uphold the highest standards of behaviours and to challenge any that fall outside of the framework. This cultural support underpins the Freedom to Speak up campaign.

If any staff, volunteers, trainees, students or governors have any concerns regarding patient or staff health and safety, professional or ethical misconduct, bullying, or any other matters that do not reflect what we expect as part of our vision and values, Wesley Blondel  and Heather Bruce are here to offer advice and support. Wesley and Heather’s role is to provide guidance and advice on how those working in our services may raise and escalate concerns, including outside of usual line management structures.

If you want to discuss a concern with Wesley or Heather, do not hesitate to get in touch and a meeting can be arranged at a mutually agreed time and place on or off Trust premises (via teams or over the phone during Covid pandemic). All concerns are treated confidentially.

To raise a concern through FTSU or to get advice you can email the generic inbox on freedomtospeakup@mbht.nhs.uk or email Wesley Blondel on wesley.blondel@mbht.nhs.uk tel 07818 468363 or heather.bruce@mbht.nhs.uk tel 07890587013.

You can also download the Freedom to speak up app by searching for  UHMBT or Freedom to Speak up or any one of our sites by name in the App store or Playstore.

Step 1 – If possible, raise your concern at the time.

Step 2 – Raise with your line manager if that is appropriate.

Step 3 – If you remain concerned, contact the generic inbox on freedomtospeakup@mbht.nhs.uk or email Wesley Blondel or tel 07818468363 or email Heather Bruce or tel 07890587013

Step 4 – If you do not feel that the matter has been handled correctly, you can contact:

• Bruce Jassi, Lead non-executive Director, on; bruce.jassi@mbht.nhs.uk
• Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, on; aaron.cummins@mbht.nhs.uk

Step 5 – If you feel that this matter cannot be dealt with within the Trust then you can raise your concern by phoning the national whistle-blowing helpline on 0800 0724725 or contacting the Care Quality Commission; www.cqc.org.uk

Don’t forget that at any time, you can contact your Union Reps and/or our Respect Champions for advice and support.

Just go to the App store or Playstore and look for UHMBT, Freedom to Speak Up or any of our main sites and you will find it. The app allows you to raise concerns from your phone. The app also has links to our policy – please remember that if you put your concern in anonymously then you will not get feedback.