Developing an open culture of feedback: Whistleblowing: a force for good?

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After qualifying as a staff nurse in 2002 and working in various health care settings, Helene became a nurse practitioner in the accident and emergency (A&E) department at Stafford Hospital in 2005. During her time there she became increasingly concerned about the poor standards of patient care and the low staff morale.  When she tried to report issues she was routinely ignored and no action was taken. This left her feeling very frustrated and led her to raise her concerns more formerly within the trust. She subsequently went on to give evidence at inquiries by Robert Francis QC into the failings at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

In her new role as Ambassador for Cultural Change Helene will share her mission for her role and the impact that she has had, and debate the role of the board in the culture of an organisation by inviting you to consider these questions:

  • How supported do staff feel?
  • Are staff confident that they know how to raise concerns?
  • Have staff raised concerns in the past? What has been the response?
  • Do staff feel listened to?
  • What helps and hinders staff from doing their jobs well?
  • What do patients/service users and relatives feel?

This event is open to lead governors of foundation trusts. Lunch will be available at 1.30pm.


Helene Donnelly

Helene Donnelly is the Partnership Trust's Ambassador for Cultural Change recently appointed to encourage even greater professionalism, support staff to raise concerns and ensure that the voice of the frontline is clearly heard at a senior level within the organisation.

Helene previously worked in the A&E department at Stafford Hospital and following her experience and difficulties in trying to raise concerns there, she was a key witness at the public inquiry held by Robert Francis QC into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
As Ambassador for Cultural Change, Helene has a clear remit from Partnership Trust 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.

Helene has been encouraged by the Executive Management Team to visit teams and services across the organisation as widely as possible. She is also interested in gathering feedback about how staff feel, if they feel listened to and what might prevent staff from raising concerns.