21 October 2013
Staff from Epsom, Sutton and St Helier hospital have kicked off a new campaign to make sure that the services they provide for patients are as good as they possibly can be, and that every member of staff can speak up safely if they have a concern.
Following the publication of the Francis report earlier this year, which looked into failings at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, (where data suggests there were between 400 and 1,200 more deaths than would have been expected), the Trust launched a piece of work to make sure all staff can have their say about the report and how we can ensure a similar situation could not develop at our hospitals.
Since that work began, more than 700 members of staff have had their say about what we do well and what we could improve, and have now launched the next phase of the work - the Francis Conversation.
During the inaugural Francis Conversation events, staff gathered to consider the feedback that people have given in the past seven months, reflect on our performance and importantly, make pledges to improve the care we are providing to patients and their loved ones.
And the pledges that came in certainly promise to improve patient care, including:
Our older person assessment liaison nurse Sue Cook, pledged: "I promise to end every working day by going to have a cup of tea with a patient who has dementia."
Our Director of Strategy, Peter Davies pledged to: "Ensure that our patients are at the heart of every strategic decision we make for the long term future of our hospitals."
Our Joint head of Nursing, Tracy Smith said: "I pledge to be as visible as I can be across the wards of our hospitals, so that any member of nursing staff can stop to speak to me, raise a concern or give feedback."
In addition to the ongoing Francis Conversation, Epsom and St Helier hospitals have also signed up to the Nursing Times' Speak Out Safely campaign to improve openness amongst healthcare professionals and put patients first.
The Nursing Times campaign, like the Francis Conversation, was launched following the Francis report. Speak Out Safely was inspired by Mid Staff nurse Helene Donnelly who tried to raise concerns about patient safety.
Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins said: "The Francis report, and the failings it looked into, was an absolute wake up call for hospital trusts across the country. Although we are a high performing organisation with a track record of providing good quality, compassionate care, we have to make sure that that we do not become complacent and never take our eyes off what matters most - our patients.
"And that's why our Francis Conversation events and the Speak Out Safely initiatives are so important - without listening to concerns or taking in feedback, we would never be able to improve the work that we do, or prevent untoward incidents."
Staff are still able to make pledges, with a further events already being planned. Patients, visitors and other local people can also have their say online or by email at at est-tr.FrancisConversation@nhs.net. You can also use the hash tag #mypatientpledge on Twitter to see what other staff members are saying.