We welcome the publication by NHS England and NHS Improvement of the report of the independent investigation to review to raising concerns at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Our thoughts are with all those whose lives have been affected by this, including the family at the heart of the concern.
The findings of the review illustrate what happens when speaking up is viewed as a threat, when those who speak up are the focus, rather than the matters raised.
The review provides learning for all organisations to not differentiate between the different ways that workers speak up. The review states “the need to recognise that even where staff raising concerns do not specifically cite Freedom to Speak Up, the concerns should be treated in the spirit of the organisation’s Freedom to Speak Up policy.”
Dr Jayne Chidgey-Clark, National Guardian for the NHS said: “The review into the events at West Suffolk are a reminder to all organisations to respond in the spirit of the principles of Freedom to Speak Up when workers speak up – wherever, however and whoever they speak up to.
“If workers do not feel they have the freedom to speak up, that they will be listened to without judgement, and that actions will be investigated impartially, quality and safety suffers.
“The CQC’s decision to downgrade the Trust’s rating illustrates the centrality of Speak Up, Listen Up, Follow Up behaviours to any assessment of an organisation’s safety and quality.”