I have been very encouraged by the response we’ve had since launching the Review earlier this month. Many people have come forward with their views and ideas for what would help create an open and honest reporting culture. Some of the experiences which have been shared with me are distressing; others have suggested that there are some areas of good practice in the health service welcoming those who speak up.
I’ve met people who have raised concerns at work, and with employers, unions, campaigners and the regulators. I have appreciated their willingness to be candid about their views, and to share experiences that, for some, mark very difficult periods of their professional and personal lives. These meetings are helping me to gain an understanding of the issues and problems from as wide a range of perspectives as possible.
I have heard stories about people who have suffered serious consequences as a result of speaking up; and stories about those who feel so unsafe and disempowered that they would never raise a concern. Employers have told me they can sometimes find it difficult to deal with issues staff raise, and that when cases become entangled with employment issues, they are even harder to resolve.
However, others have come forward to share good experiences they’ve had of speaking out and to let me know how their organisation encourages an open culture. It is apparent that strong leadership and a relentless focus on giving all staff a voice are some of the greatest enablers to creating workplaces where staff feel positive about speaking out and patients are safe.
Some themes are beginning to emerge. I have been hearing general agreement on what can hinder an open culture but I would like more people to get in touch. I’m especially keen to hear about possible solutions and examples of where people feel free to speak up, without fear of reprisals.
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed so far. If you have views and experiences to share, please visit our website and send us your thoughts – my team are collecting responses until 10 September and the contributions we have received so far have provided an invaluable insight. If you work in the NHS you can also complete our survey – if you’ve not received details of how to get involved, speak to your employer.
Your views matter: my team and I are listening.