Whistle­blow­ers are all quiet

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

NOT one doc­tor or nurse has ‘blown the whis­tle’ to raise con­cerns about stan­dards at HRI or Calderdale Royal, it has been re­vealed.

Calderdale and Hud­der­s­field NHS Foun­da­tion Trust (CHFT) has ad­mit­ted its ‘Free­dom to Speak Up’ pol­icy has gone com­pletely un­used since its launch last June.

But while the in­ter­nal sys­tem was ig­nored, two con­cerns were flagged anony­mously to the health watch­dog the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (CQC).

One doc­tor de­cided to come to the Ex­am­iner to re­veal se­ri­ous wor­ries about work­loads and pa­tient safety dur­ing the peak of the win­ter cri­sis in early Jan­uary.

A re­port into the pol­icy says: “No con­cerns have been logged on the trust’s Rais­ing Con­cerns log to date, nor have staff utilised the ‘Free­dom to Speak Up Guardian’ or Head of Gov­er­nance and Risk, to progress con­cerns.”

One of the staff who ran to the CQC com­plained about a short­age of nurses in the Acute Med­i­cal Unit at Hud­der­s­field Royal In­fir­mary.

Af­ter the CQC con­tacted the hos­pi­tal a re­view was held which re­sulted in more be­ing brought in.

The se­cond anony­mous whistle­blower told the CQC they were con­cerned about safety in the ma­ter­nity wards at Calderdale Royal.

They com­plained a high num­ber of staff were leav­ing and claimed it was hav­ing an im­pact on stan­dards in the the­atres.

Once no­ti­fied the trust re­viewed the lead­er­ship and safety cul­ture and held train­ing ses­sions to im­prove man­age­ment stan­dards.

While no one has used the of­fi­cial whistle­blow­ing polic­ing it has been re­vealed that al­most 200 mem­bers of staff have emailed chief ex­ec­u­tive Owen Wil­liams to ask ques­tions since he launched a new ‘Ask Owen’ sys­tem in Septem­ber 2015.

Queries have ranged from is­sues with the hos­pi­tal shake-up plan to prob­lems with the car park.

The re­port to the board con­cludes: “Whilst it is clear a sub­stan­tial amount of work has been un­der­taken to de­velop an open and trans­par­ent cul­ture there are still some ar­eas for im­prove­ment, and these will be ad­dressed dur­ing 2018.”

CHFT’s Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Bren­dan Brown, added: “We firmly be­lieve that if any col­league in any role has any con­cerns about the way health­care is be­ing pro­vided here at CHFT then they have the chan­nels to be able to raise them and are en­cour­aged to raise them.

“The trust has an ‘Ask Owen’ ser­vice where col­leagues can raise any is­sue in pri­vate di­rectly with our chief ex­ec­u­tive, and this is a very pop­u­lar chan­nel.

“We also have a ‘Free­dom to Speak Up Guardian’ in lo­cal GP and a Non-Ex­ec­u­tive Dr David An­der­son, in line with na­tional guid­ance, to en­able a fur­ther chan­nel for staff to raise con­cerns.

“The trust re­sponds to all is­sues and in­ves­ti­gates no mat­ter which chan­nel is used to en­sure the care we pro­vide is of the safest and high­est qual­ity pos­si­ble.”

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