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Freedom to Speak Up

As part of our commitment to quality and safety, the Trust implemented the Freedom To Speak Up initiative which is led by the Trust’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Denise MacPherson.

Den Macpherson Photo Website

With the NHS duty of candour the Trust and our staff members have both individual and corporate responsibilities to ensure we speak the truth and Speak Up if we have safety concerns regarding our patients or staff.

We encourage a culture of openness and honesty to ensure that staff members feel it is safe to Speak Up if they have any concerns.  We have a number of staff who act as Freedom To Speak Up champions who are available to support staff in raising a concern in addition to the Guardian.

Staff can raise concerns about any risk, malpractice or wrongdoing they feel is harming the service we deliver.   Examples include concerns about unsafe patient care, a criminal offence maybe that has been, or is being committed, unsafe working conditions or other breaches of Health and Safety, inadequate induction or training for staff, lack of, or poor response to, a reported patient safety incident, suspicions of fraud, or concerns that someone maybe covering up wrongdoing.

Raising a concern can also include where staff working relationships are challenged and staff interactions are not as they should be. Staff can feel that they are being bullied or harassed and this is unacceptable.  We support the campaign “Civility Saves Lives” and this will be promoted through the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and Champions. 

If staff members have a concern, they are encouraged to raise it immediately with the staff involved or with their line manager but if this is not appropriate they can contact our FTSU Guardian who provides advice and support on the concern to be investigated. The managing director, medical and nursing director and the FTSU non-executive director are all willing to receive concerns directly. This illustrates the level of support this Trust has for the Freedom To Speak Up Process.  

If you have a question or concern and you are a patient, relative/carer, or member of the public, please contact our patient experience team by clicking here for the contact details.

Board level support for Freedom to Speak Up 

Hello, my name is Lucy Flanagan and I am the chief nursing officer at Wye Valley NHS Trust.Lucy F Website Image

It is important that we put quality of care at the forefront of everything that we do and to do this we need an open and transparent culture, where staff can feel confident to raise concerns and know that we always listen and investigate those concerns.

There may be a time in anyone's career when they want to raise a concern but feel afraid to do so, but we all owe it to our patients and colleagues to do the right thing. The Trust Board supports staff to Speak Up and has a policy to ensure staff who do Speak Up are supported and listened to.

We hope that staff members are able to speak to their immediate line manager about any concerns, but if support is needed to do this, they can link in with our Trust Freedom to Speak Up Guardian or their local Freedom to Speak Up Champions.  Staff members local Trade Union representative can also offer help and support through this process.

As the chief nursing officer, I feel passionately about patient safety, quality and standards.

We need to strive for quality and make sure that the patient experience is always a good one and because of this, it is important that all staff are aware of our Freedom to Speak Up Policy and their duty in terms of speaking out when they see things that are not right.

We promise that where staff members 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. We want all staff to have the Freedom To Speak Up safely.


© Wye valley NHS Trust 2023