The Francis report into Mid- Staffordshire Foundation Trust and investigation into abuse at Winterbourne View raised many concerns from service users and their families, relating to systemic failures in some health and social care services.
As part of a wider enquiry for work being undertaken by Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham, a survey was undertaken at two care homes and a health care department to find out and begin to understand how easy and open it is for staff to raise concerns and “whistle blow” when the behaviour of colleagues is observed to be inappropriate and where the basic principles of care are not being performed to an acceptable standard.
The following summary refers to feedback that Healthwatch has received so far:
5 (14%) of the respondents said there were no policies for staff to complain about bad practice or unacceptable behaviour by a colleague at work.
Of those that said they knew about their employer’s “whistle blowing” policy; 20 (57%) said they found out about it either through face to face or computer based training.
6 (17%) people said they had used their work’s policy - of these, 4
(11.5%) said investigations had been carried out and followed up; 1 (3%) said it was confidential and 1 (3%) wasn’t told what the outcome was.
2 (6%) people said they wished they had used the policy but didn’t due to concerns and fears of being penalised or sacked at work.
When asked about ways to raise difficult matters with their managers, 18 (51%) said that their managers had an “open door” policy – other responses included using a suggestion box; staff questionnaire and feedback via email. Of the responses Healthwatch received, 10 (28.5%) said that their manager had spoken with them about the questionnaire, before they completed it.
Healthwatch will continue to work with various Health and Social Care providers during 2014/15 to find out more about the extent of “whistle blowing” policies across services and