The Freedom to Speak Up team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT) took the opportunity to make their PPE hub a ‘safe haven’ for workers to be supported and protected not only physically, but also psychologically. As a result, they were shortlisted for the ‘Freedom to Speak Up Organisation of the Year’ at the 2022 HSJ awards.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a local personal protective equipment (PPE) hub was established by BTHFT where workers from the Trust could retrieve their PPE daily. Associated Chief Nurse and Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at BTHFT, Sue Franklin, along with two speak up ambassadors were deployed to work at the hub.
They encouraged colleagues to chat about any issues and alleviate any worries during this distressing time. The team also raised awareness of Freedom to Speak Up, promoted training and the Freedom to Speak Up values.
As the hub supplied PPE for every worker, Sue and the other members of the team met workers from all over the Trust they would not usually see, for example bank workers, porters, kitchen staff and domestics. Seeing the wide diversity of workers on the frontline at BTHFT who came to the hub, Sue reflected upon the diversity within the Freedom to Speak Up network. Through recruitment of new ambassadors, the Freedom to Speak Up team now is more representative of Bradford’s cultural population and includes representatives from its EDI networks.
Through the healthy speaking up arrangements at the hub, worker concerns and ideas for improvement could be addressed quickly. For example, clear face masks were supplied for workers who were deaf, and disposable Hijabs were provided so that workers could continue to wear their headscarves during the working day. In addition, the hub had its own section on the Daily Covid-19 Bulletin called ‘PPE message of the day’ which addressed any reoccurring issues to get the message directly to all workers in an efficient and timely manner.
As the PPE hub is now an established part of BTHFT, Susan’s office is still situated in the hub, maintaining that link between psychological and physical worker safety. Susan was also awarded a Chief Nursing Officer Silver award for her work during the pandemic, presented by Ruth May, Chief Nurse for England.
Susan said, “Being based in the PPE hub ensured that workers got their PPE when they needed it and our team was available at the same time to talk through any concerns they had about staying safe during the pandemic.”