Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is today launching the next phase of a widespread project to transform its culture.
It follows work that has taken place over the last nine months, which has included regular listening events with staff across the Trust and the recruitment of more than 60 colleagues to act as culture change agents – people who actively advocate for a compassionate and supportive culture. Extra focus has also been placed on staff wellbeing.
The new drive reinforces the Trust’s determination to take a zero-tolerance approach to racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying and harassment for both its workforce and the communities it serves.
The progress made has been recognised by the Care Quality Commission, which commented that “staff reported [that culture was] going in the right direction”. And there is a downward trend in staff reporting experience of bullying and harassment. However, staff feedback and surveys show that significant work is still needed to fully address all the issues.
Describing the next steps, CEO Stuart Richardson said the Trust will develop with staff, carers and service users a long-term culture strategy with equality, diversity and inclusion at its heart. It has already introduced more staff wellbeing, support and recognition initiatives and will launch a fully independent Freedom to Speak Up service.
“We are a team of nearly 5,000 people, committed to delivering high quality and safe care for the people who need us, their families and their carers,” he said.
“Today, we take a stand against behaviours that are contrary to our values, and those values of the wider NHS.
“Everybody who works at our Trust has a part to play in creating an environment that supports our patients to receive excellent care and allows our staff to thrive and achieve their potential. We all have a duty to call out unacceptable bad behaviour when we see it.
“To colleagues who have experienced it, I am sorry, and I promise we will do better. And I say to the small minority of people who think they can get away with it, that’s not the case anymore.
“Today we start to do things differently.”
Stuart added: “We know culture change takes time and won’t happen overnight. It will take several years and it won’t be easy, but together we will unite to achieve this. Improving our culture is everyone’s responsibility and only by working together can we find the solutions that we need to deliver long-term change for our service users and staff.”
All NSFT staff, across all services and in all roles, are being encouraged to support the transformation work by sharing their views, experiences and feedback to help develop improvements via an independent and anonymous online platform.
The transformation work will be discussed at NSFT’s Board meeting on 22 September 2022, 12.30-3pm. It is a public meeting which will be streamed live. People can view it via MS Teams by visiting nsft.uk/BoardMeetingSept2022