Leadership message from Janice Scott, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

janice scott LM

As we near the end of October I am sure many of us are breathing a sigh of relief. It has been a busy, emotional and challenging month, yet our staff have still managed to keep moving forward and continue to provide an outstanding level of care to our patients, so congratulations and genuine thanks to you all.

What will November bring? Action and the start of change. There are many areas where activity started in October and feedback, some results and developing work will start to be communicated throughout the next month, namely the CQC Action Plan, Cultural Change, Freedom to Speak Up month and the Executive briefing sessions. 

As Freedom to speak Up month draws to an end and confidential data starts to be collated in a thematic and confidential way, I thought it would be good time to share some initial findings on how some staff are feeling.

  • Staff really are proud to be working for the Trust – in the main they enjoy their job, their peers and supporting our patients.
  • Staff at all levels of the Trust want and need support, encouragement and acknowledgement – emotionally, mentally, physically and verbally.
  • Many staff are scared. The level of fear around speaking up is immense and we as a Trust need to ensure we have a safety mechanism so staff can speak up without any fear of reprisal or impact on their career.
  • Staff want to be listened to – they have ideas and suggestions on how we can work on improving patient care and staff safety and wellbeing, they want to be heard.
  • Staff want the chance to develop and progress in their careers in a way which is equitable, fair, open and transparent.
  • Staff want to be enabled to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

As you can see this is positive, however there are some crucial basic needs which staff feel need to be met in order for them to feel safe, secure and confident in their work and their job.

An additional opportunity for staff to feedback on their experiences is through the recent Workplace Harassment Survey which every member of staff should have received. As your Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, I fully endorse this additional opportunity which has been created for staff to share what they are experiencing. It is anonymous - I have checked this and it will result in action and ultimately change, so please do be as honest as you can when you complete it.

It has been a truly enlightening and challenging month for me as I navigate my permanent journey into EEAST. I have visited the Luton and Longwater stations recently where I had lots of laughs with staff, listening and hearing their views alongside getting a few more acronyms under my belt! I think I may have even helped a few…I have plans to visit Cambridge and Chelmsford within the next month and am definitely open to safely visit as many stations as I can over the next few months, if your station would welcome a visit from me, please do get in contact, and this can be arranged.

My first three months has been peppered with sadness when I actively listen to staff vocalising their experiences, hopelessness when staff do not want to formalise their concerns because they are so fearful of the repercussions and confusion, in trying to understand how such a critical part of our wonderful NHS system is struggling to look after our staff as well as we look after our patients.

I am very trusting of our staff and of the various processes and measures which are being put in place to address the culture within our organisation and am asking you to do the same.

Do not give up, we can get it right. It will take a lot of work and some time, but every member of staff is essential to this change process and we need you to support, engage and help shape the outcome. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this update and please contact me if you would like to discuss something in confidence.

Janice Scott
Freedom to Speak Up Guardian
07562 158013

Published 29th October 2020

1 Comment
What an excellent message Janice - the tone and content are just right for the situation in which we find ourselves at EEAST. An excellent crafted message.
29 October 2020

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