Freedom to Speak Up is a national campaign to make speaking up business as usual. There are over 700 Freedom to Speak Up Guardians working across the NHS and independent sector organisations all working to support staff to raise concerns. It was introduced following the 2013 Francis Inquiry and is a completely confidential service where staff can talk openly about concerns regarding wrongdoing.
Andy Pike is our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Newcastle Hospitals and is experienced in supporting staff who have concerns and helping address issues. He is an independent, impartial contact to advise, signpost and support staff.
Since taking up the role in January 2019, Andy has helped a number of people by providing a safe, non-judgemental environment, and allowing them to speak openly and freely about any concerns or issues they wish to raise.
“As Freedom to Speak Up Guardian I have a very important and unique role, our staff need to feel safe raising concerns and the feedback we receive is universally positive.” Says Andy.
“Staff who have used the service tell us that it’s reassuring for them to have an impartial point of contact. Some of the topics we deal with can be sensitive and is often challenging. From feedback I know that the team are supportive and show empathy, we work closely with staff to find positive resolutions and always make sure that any staff members who raise concerns are listened to.
“It’s really important that we normalise speaking up and as our contacts are increasing every quarter it shows that staff are becoming more confident in approaching the team.”
Andy is supported by six Freedom to speak up Champions who offer immediate support and work with staff to signpost individuals to the right service where appropriate.
Our Champions work in a variety of roles across the Trust and are here to respond quickly to any requests for assistance at very short notice. As well as advising, supporting and signposting individuals, Champions will act as a role model for creating an open, honest and transparent culture which values speaking up.
The team report themes and issues anonymously to the Trust Board and concerns raised then help to shape Trust strategy, improving working environments across Newcastle Hospitals.
All members of staff are able to contact the Freedom to Speak up team if they have a worry or concern and would benefit from support. Further information on how to contact Andy and the team can be found on the Trust intranet.