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Open culture at Derbyshire NHS trust is one of the best in England, independent finding

Published on Friday 10 July 2020

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked in the top 10 NHS organisations for its openness in encouraging staff to speak up if anything concerns them.


The findings, published today (9 July) by the independent National Guardian’s Office for Freedom to Speak Up, place the Derbyshire community trust eighth out of 229 NHS trusts nationally, and best in the Midlands, for the way it fosters a healthy open culture where people are listened to.

Jackie Rawlings, the trust’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, said: “This finding is very encouraging for us, knowing people feel comfortable to let us know when we can do things better. We have 4,300 staff and that’s a brilliant resource of eyes and ears to help us keep our services running as smoothly as possible and putting things right if we need to.”

The findings, published in the Freedom to Speak Up Index Report 2020, used data from the national NHS Staff Survey to draw up the 2020 index, analysing all trusts’ results around how well staff feel their employer encourages them to report errors, near misses or incidents, feel secure in raising clinical concerns, know how to report concerns and are confident they will be listened to and feel supported.

The Freedom to Speak Up index was first published in 2019 as a key metric for organisations to monitor their speaking up culture and follows the introduction of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians across the NHS in 2015.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust is rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, the NHS’s independent regulator, and provides a range of health care in community settings, including people’s own homes, clinics and community hospitals.

In releasing today’s index, Dr Henrietta Hughes, National Guardian for Freedom to Speak Up, outlined the strong link between a healthy speaking up culture and organisations which are highly rated by the Care Quality Commission. Dr Hughes said: “Fostering a positive speaking up culture sits firmly with the leadership and we can see that organisations with a high index score tend to be rated as outstanding or good by the Care Quality Commission.”

Tracy Allen, chief executive of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to see this report today. It is huge credit to everyone within the trust who has really taken the importance of this to heart, in creating an open culture and removing any barriers which might prevent someone feeling able to express their concerns. We are lucky to have Jackie in the lead on this for our trust and we’ll be working hard to improve our score even further next year.”  

Prem Singh, chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The clear message is that everyone should feel able to speak up if they hear, see or experience something at work which concerns them. This report is an excellent endorsement of where we are getting that right and gives us further impetus to get from number eight to number one in the country for the openness of the culture we nurture in our workplace and supports our quest for constant improvement across the organisation.”

Kaye Burnett, senior independent director of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, added “This is a great result and highlights the culture of openness that we continue to build at the trust. Encouraging everyone, whatever their role, to have the confidence to share any concerns is fundamental to providing high quality, safe and compassionate care, and we will continue to encourage and learn from their feedback.”

The National Guardian’s Office is an independent, non-statutory body with the remit to lead culture change in the NHS so that speaking up becomes business as usual.

The Freedom to Speak Up Index 2020, which amalgamates the findings of the NHS Staff Survey results on the questions relating to an organisation’s culture of openness, gave Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust a percentage score of 84.9%, compared with 78.7% national average and 78.8% average in the Midlands. In 2019, the first year that the index was published, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, achieved 82.7% and was placed 15th in the national index.




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