We’ve always been very open about our ambition to treat every patient, colleague and peer with the same care and respect, no matter their age, gender, race, background, ability or belief. And, in line with this year’s Black History Month’s theme of ‘Time for change: Actions not words’, we want to ensure that we don’t pay lip service to such vital causes but take action. So, this October, which also marks National Speak Up Month, we’re happy to share our progress on two very important staff initiatives.
Firstly, we have introduced a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian to support employees to speak up when they feel they are unable to do so via other routes. There are more than 800 Freedom to Speak Up Guardians across the NHS and we’re delighted to replicate this important scheme within our own federation. At ABC our Guardian is supported by four Freedom To Speak Up Champions, who are playing a positive role in raising awareness of how to speak up and helping to empower staff. Recent staff feedback provided us with insight into what would enable people to speak up, and reassurance, confidentiality and trust featured highly.
Among our values are ‘We are honest – even when it is difficult’ and ‘We are inclusive – we listen and we act’. By having channels for staff members to express their concerns, we’re committed to remaining true to these values – even when it challenges us. And we want to support our members in doing so too, so we encourage practices who wish to find out more, to get in touch so that we can work with you to establish your own Guardians.
Building on this momentum, we’re also now focused on introducing Inclusion Champions across our business. We have asked members of our team to put themselves forward to help us offer effective representation and a clear voice for specific characteristics. Initially we’re looking for Champions across six characteristics; age, gender, disability, race, LGBTQ+, religion/belief, and staff have been asked to express their interest to help us deliver this ambition to be an inclusive and well represented organisation.
These initiatives form just the beginning of our plans to ensure we offer a safe, fair and inclusive environment for all our staff and we look forward to sharing more ‘actions not words’ in the coming months.