Forth Valley Hospital bullying: £750,000 poured into changing culture

Work to change a culture of bullying and cover-ups at Forth Valley Royal Hospital is well underway, members of the health board heard today (Tuesday).

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:19 pm

Last year, claims were made that staff at the Larbert hospital were so terrified of victimisation that medical mistakes in patient care were not reported.

In response, chief executive Cathie Cowan ordered an independent review into the allegations.

When the review was published last summer, she described its findings as “distressing” – and promised to fully implement all of its 45 recommendations, along with others that came directly from emergency department staff.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Forth Valley Royal Hospital

Six months on, she told the board that three-quarters of the recommendations had now been implemented and they are making “good progress” with the rest.

Ms Cowan added that more than £750,000 has been invested to support the changes being made to “support a culture that is about improvement, that is about learning and is about quality”.

Read More

Read More
Bonnybridge cyclist takes on Ride Across Britain for Cancer Research UK

Some of the complaints had been around a lack of staff training and the plan included recruiting new clinical staff, providing education support and a pledge to fill vacant posts.

The board heard that additional staff have been recruited, including a clinical nurse manager whose role is to improve mentoring and leadership in the department.

With the manager in place, a team leader will now also be appointed.

Other recommendations were to ensure protected learning time for ED nurses and a review of staffing levels round the clock, including health care support workers.

Much of that work is almost complete and “excellent progress has been made”, the board was told.

Ms Cowan said it was her intention that there should not just be a cultural change in the ED but that the entire hospital could learn lessons from the process.

And she said the pace of the work – despite the huge pressures that the pandemic has put on the health service – showed how seriously they are taking it.

Ms Cowan added: “We did share the action plan with our staffside representative colleagues and it was very well received.

“I acknowledged then that the recommendations are the start of a journey and the work will continue.”

Work is also ongoing to make sure that staff feel are not frightened to raise complaints and feel supported when they do so.

Forth Valley now has a “Speak Up” service, with two ambassadors and six advocates who will help people to raise any concerns they may have in the workplace.

Professor Angela Wallace, director of nursing, said she wanted to pay tribute to the nursing staff who had spoken up, saying they were “brave colleagues”.

Ms Cowan said: “We want a culture where people feel supported and able to speak up and where we learn from our mistakes.”

Board members heard that it was now crucial to make sure that all of the actions being taken are actually having a positive effect.

Staff representative Robert Clark said that the board and officers would be held to account if the recommendations were not fully implemented and staff felt that no difference had been made.

Thank you for reading this article on our free-to-read website. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a subscription to our print newspaper to help fund our trusted, fact-checked journalism.