Speak Up Month in October is the highlight of National Guardian’s Office calendar – a chance to shine a spotlight and raise awareness of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians and the work which is happening across NHS organisations to make speaking up business as usual.  This year’s Freedom to Speak Up Month’s theme is Speak Up, Listen Up and Follow Up.

Stress and exhaustion, mental health challenges, colleagues not following the appropriate protocol, or feeling that leadership is not open to the concerns being raised is heard all too often.  The past 18 months of the pandemic have been taxing on healthcare workers, and it cannot continue. 

Concerns are only valuable if they are heard. The National Guardian Freedom to Speak Up Annual Data Report revealed that the past year represented a 26 per cent increase in reported cases over 2019 to well over 20,000. Supporting the theory that patients and healthcare workers alike are feeling more confident about raising their concerns. 

This is likely a result of:

  • The hyper-stressed environments that healthcare workers have found themselves in and resultant increase awareness of the necessity to speak up. 
  • The value that healthcare workers have seen in voicing their concerns and speaking up in confidence. 
  • The ease of being able to speak up through anonymous communication platforms like those provided by WorkInConfidence.

One of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians’ greatest successes is that they’re human and impartial. And with WorkInConfidence’s platform at hand, they have a robust, reliable tool for logging and following up on concerns logged with them. Providing a sense of confidence that something has been heard and that a resulting action will come of it. 

October is Speak up Month – click here to get your free resources – which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of how much value speaking up brings to organisations like the NHS and PCNs. 

Increase Engagement, Learning and Understanding

Speaking up provides the opportunity to highlight something that is of concern so that it can be addressed or improved. 

Everyone should listen up, acknowledge what has been shared, and escalate and log it so that measurable action can be taken. 

Finally, follow up on what has been logged and shared so that the improvements, enhancements and consultations can be made to make a better workplace for all. 

Salisbury Plain is a PCN that places a great value on the emotional wellbeing of its team. Its Freedom to Speak Up Guardians were welcomed when it introduced the programme, but manual processes weighed them down until WorkInConfidence stepped in to assist. Implementing channels that included everyone, led them along a path of increased engagement, learning and understanding which has helped it improve. 

Read the case study to find out how this PCN used technology to open communication channels to increase participation and feedback.

Make a Pledge to Speak UP

Speaking up takes effort, but it has the ability to pay dividends in terms of patient satisfaction, staff satisfaction and enhancements in business areas you’d possibly never even considered before if it is tracked properly. 

These issues don’t just effect the health care sector and our NHS. Every organisation should make an effort to encourage staff to speak up, make a pledge to listen up, but most critically, follow up. 

Visit our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians page for helpful resources and information to help support Freedom to Speak Up Month.

Protect: Anonymous Speak Up: A safe and secure way for your people to anonymously raise concerns via phone, tablet, or PC, ensuring you are aware of any workplace issues and can respond quickly and accordingly

Consolidated Case Management: A secure online place to record, track, update, and report on all speaking up matters, whether raised through WorkInConfidence or directly.

Surveys: Easily set up, run and interpret surveys on engagement, respect, wellness or other topics to ensure you always understand your people, their needs and motivations.

Discussion Boards: Demonstrate your commitment to collaboration with discussion boards to accelerate employee engagement and gain greater insights – anonymous if required.