Related Sector: Health & Social Care

“The overarching Principle is that every organisation needs to foster a culture of safety and learning in which all staff feel safe to raise a concern. This is something to which everyone associated with the NHS, from you as Secretary of State, to frontline staff, can and should contribute.” Sir Robert Francis, Freedom to Speak Up Report, 11 February 2015: p6

Sir Robert Francis QC will deliver the keynote address at The Royal College of Midwives Legal Birth: a Conference on 7 July 2015. Angela Cunningham will then speak about NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s journey towards an open and honest culture and its impact on safety.

We wanted to hear from Angela because she has experience of bringing about culture change, including work to understand her organisation’s culture and improving communication. She also believes in the importance of putting women and children at the centre, of having caring conversations and of acknowledging that if we care for ourselves and each other then we are in a better position to care for the women we serve.

Tell us below what changes you think could create a more open and honest reporting culture.

Angela Cunningham has held the post of Associate Nurse Director, Women & Children’s Services at NHS Ayrshire & Arran for 14 years. She also works with Healthcare Improvement Scotland and is the Clinical Midwifery Lead on the Maternity and Children Quality Improvement Collaborative (part of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme).

In Freedom to Speak Up, Sir Robert sets out 20 Principles and Actions which aim to create the right conditions for NHS staff to speak up, share what works right across the NHS and get all organisations up to the standard of the best. The Recommendations, Principles and Actions appear on p24-29 of Freedom to Speak Up. Annex B to the report contains a list of actions, showing the organisations responsible for implementing each one: see p210-212 of Freedom to Speak Up. The revised NMC Code 2015 includes a duty of candour, as well as a duty to raise concerns, to act on them, and to protect staff who have raised a concern.

What changes do you think could create an open and honest reporting culture? What changes should organisations be making? 

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2 comments
  • Gail - Midwife

    19 May 2015 10:55

    We need to make sure that we listen to all our colleagues and that the newer, less experienced, members of staff are given a voice. They come with fresh eyes and see things we have just accepted

  • angela Cunningham - AND Women and Children's Services

    19 May 2015 17:31

    We need to create an enviroment of psychological safety at every level of the service. This supports less experienced colleagues or those new to our services to "challenge" us and seek "clarity" on situations. we need to ensure staff know any concerns raised will be treated seriously, investigated appropriately they will have feedback and everyone will be treated with respect and dignity during the process and supported emotionally on the journey

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