Case study: Staffordshire and Stoke On Trent Partnership NHS Trust


22 / 11 / 2013

As an organisation providing care to vulnerable people, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust understand the importance of having robust systems in place to enable staff to raise concerns and take this issue very seriously.  We believe in encouraging openness and transparency in all we do and there will be no negative comeback for individuals who have acted responsibly in highlighting issues that could put the people we care for at risk in any way.

Ambassador for Cultural Change

Having an ambassador or lead person gives a strong message to staff in building confidences and assurances that their concerns will be listened to and dealt with properly. We recognise that some staff may find it easier to speak to a fellow colleague about issues. Helene Donnelly, a nurse practitioner, was appointed to a new role earlier this year as our Ambassador for Cultural Change. This role allows us to encourage even greater professionalism, support staff when raising concerns, and to ensure that the voice of the frontline is heard clearly at a senior level within the organisation.

Helene, who was instrumental in raising concerns at Stafford Hospital while working as a staff nurse in the A&E department, has a clear remit from our Chief Executive, Stuart Poynor, and the Trust Board to act freely and with complete autonomy from the management team as another route for issues of concern to be raised at the highest level.

Staff engagement is key

Staff engagement is fundamental and Helene has been encouraged by the Executive Management Team to visit teams and services across the organisation as widely as possible to gather feedback about how staff feel, if they feel listened to, what might prevent them from raising concerns. The Board also undertake frontline visits where they reinforce the message about raising concerns to staff.

Additional support resources

In addition, we have also introduced a confidential helpline which is run by the Trust Auditors, and all staff have been issued with credit cards giving them details of how to contact the helpline.

We also have a strong staff counseling service which is aimed at reintroducing staff members who have raised concerns, back into the workplace.  With the introduction of mediation playing a key role in making sure this is effective. Having such a strong support interface has been particularly important in helping the trust deal with bullying and harassment which may occur as a result of a member of staff raising a concern.

We have also introduced values-based recruitment and an initiative on Appreciative Leadership. Board buy in has been crucial in delivering a strong message to all staff about the type of culture and values the organisation is striving to achieve.

Speak Out Safely

Our trust also supports The Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign. This means we want every member of our staff to feel able to raise concerns about wrongdoing or poor practice when they see it and be confident that their concerns will be addressed in a constructive way.

For more information

For further information, please contact the Communications Team at Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust at: or go to the Trusts website at:

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