Speaking up for improvement
General Optical Council

Speaking up for Improvement

(article by National Guardian)

Speaking up with ideas or concerns can lead to improvements for patients and colleagues, but only if the organisation listens and acts. When leaders see information as a gift, workers feel valued and listened to and this has a positive impact on patient care.

Following the events at Mid Staffs, the Francis Report recommended that every trust in England should appoint a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. Guardians are there as a confidential channel to listen to workers, if they are unable to speak up to their manager or through other routes, and to ensure that the right actions are taken as a result. They also work proactively to identify and tackle barriers to speaking up in their organisation.

Freedom to Speak Up Guardians in trusts have recorded over 19,000 cases in the last two years. These include issues that impact on the delivery of care, for example relating to patient safety or bullying and harassment. Guardians receive support, training and advice from the National Guardian’s Office, led by Dr Henrietta Hughes, the National Guardian for the NHS.  

NHS England issued guidance in 2017 to all primary care providers about appointing a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. From April 2019, the NGO has been supporting this work to make speaking up in primary care business as usual. This includes helping optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical business staff speak up and organisations to have systems in place to respond. The NGO is here to support you with your arrangements. They are keen to hear what your organisation already has in place and how they can help you to speak up for the benefit of patient care.

For more information about speaking up visit the National Guardian’s Office webpages https://www.cqc.org.uk/national-guardians-office/content/national-guardians-office   You can email them at enquiries@nationalguardianoffice.org.uk and follow on Twitter @NatGuardianFTSU

NHS England guidance: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/whistleblowing-guidance.pdf

  national guardian

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