Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed its first Freedom to Speak Up Guardian as part of its continued focus on openness, transparency and supporting staff.
A key recommendation from Sir Robert Francis’ review into the culture of raising concerns in the NHS, the people appointed to this role, which is governed by the Care Quality Commission, are there to support staff in raising genuine concerns about their work.
Kirsty Dickson, who has worked in the NHS for 20 years, took up the position in October last year. It is completely independent from the trust, which covers Northumberland and North Tyneside.
She can assist in escalating any issue where needed – acting as a conduit to ensure any problems are resolved.
Kirsty, who has worked in dental nursing, oral health promotion and occupational health, said: “It is abundantly clear that there is already a very strong supportive and open culture at the trust, which puts the needs of patients first.
“This is something I hope to enhance ever further by being there to support individual members of staff, or teams, if they need to have a confidential conversation about a concern with someone who is independent from the organisation.”