V is for … Voice
Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Spire Healthcare
My names Gina and I have been a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian in Spire Healthcare for just over two years now. Not only has it given me an opportunity to better know the colleagues around me, it has also enabled me to give workers a mutual platform to raise their concerns when they feel it cannot be raised any other way.
To me, Freedom to Speak Up means having the confidence to say, “something isn’t right here” or, “I think this is wrong but I’m not sure”. It is about giving workers who sometimes feel they do not have the confidence to speak to senior workers a way to be heard. I feel the guardian gives workers a VOICE.
I remember my first concern that was ever raised to me, I prepared for the meeting and made sure I had everything I needed – including tissues! I eagerly listened to the workers member and was determined to make sure I had all the facts written down. The more the workers member told me about their concern, the more I realised how all they wanted was to be heard and supported. Once I raised this to senior management confidentially, the workers member felt relieved and as if a weight had been taken off their shoulders. They felt protected because of the concern being raised confidentially but they also felt as though their VOICE had been heard as an outcome will always be given.
From then onwards, the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role became so clear to me; if workers members feel supported and safe from the moment they raise a concern right through to the end, then they are much more likely to have the confidence to raise concerns in the future. The guardian role can give them the platform and VOICE to do this – then we can make a safe and happy working environment for both patients and workers.