26 / 6 / 2014 3.11pm
Today is another difficult day for the NHS, our staff and those in our care who have been affected, as 28 organisations each published their independent investigation reports that were commissioned as a result of allegations of abuse on their premises by Jimmy Savile. There are around five further individual reports that will be published at a later date. There were no new plans announced today but on such an important day for the NHS I wanted to write to summarise what has happened this morning, what is planned for later this year and what you might want to review locally to assure yourself and your Board of your own processes and practices.
Kate Lampard QC was asked by the Government to oversee the various investigations and provide assurance that all of the independent investigations met an appropriate standard and draw learning from them for the NHS. We have also provided information to the review team. The assurance report and each individual investigation report were published this morning on the gov.uk website.
Jeremy Hunt spoke in the House of Commons at 11.30 today. He apologised to all of those affected and talked of the courage shown from the victims who came forward to give evidence.
The Secretary of State spoke of:
- the importance of listening and acting on concerns that are made about abuse to ensure that this never happens again
- the much improved legislative framework and safeguarding arrangements that have been put in place in more recent years to protect patients
- the significant activity around being open and transparent, some of which was covered in my note on Tuesday
- the really important role that volunteers and fundraisers have across the NHS.
He has asked NHS England, CQC, Monitor and the NHS TDA to review the safeguarding arrangements in place across the system. In their joint statement today, the national bodies have urged all local organisations to review the recommendations in the reports, review against current practice and take action if needed.
You can read Jeremy Hunt’s written statement or watch it again on the Parliamentary website.
Kate Lampard’s report into the lessons for the NHS from all of the investigations published today is due in the autumn.
It will be important to consider all of the learning and we will review our materials and guidance in light of today’s reports. There are some areas which it may be prudent to look at and assure yourselves and your Boards of your own procedures, including safeguarding arrangements, the handling of complaints and concerns that are raised by staff, patients and the public, arrangements for undertaking checks and your policies around supervision, volunteers and contractors.
I am aware you will know these resources exist, but for ease I have included links here to the NHS Employment Check standards, which include all checks that required to be undertaken for staff, volunteers and contractors. Our webinar on making referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service can be replayed from here. As I highlighted in my note on Tuesday, our raising concerns pages include guidance for employers and examples of how some organisations are approaching raising confidence. Finally our work programmes that are providing support materials and resources on values, staff engagement and cultural change have lots of examples or access to networks for your teams to access.
What has happened over this 50-year period can be difficult to comprehend, particularly when viewed against the employment and safeguarding practices of today. The media coverage and questions that will follow will no doubt affect many members of staff, directly and indirectly. You will want to consider alerting your local occupational health, psychological support and EAP providers that some staff may seek to access support. The BBC Panorama web page has a number of charities and support organisations listed that you may also find useful if needed.
I started by saying it was another challenging day for the NHS but I know, as HR professionals, that we will respond well to those challenges for staff and our patients by providing support and advice to our organisations. We will of course update our website and resources in light of any future recommendations. On a personal basis please don't hesitate to contact me or the team at NHS Employers if you need any personal support or advice.
As ever, I would welcome any comments or feedback that you may have on any of these issues and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With best wishes
Chief Executive, NHS Employers