Nuffield Health Hospital Bournemouth has become the first hospital in Dorset to join a national nurse-led patient safety initiative.

Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital has signed up to the Speak Out Safely (SOS) campaign, an initiative to encourage NHS and independent healthcare providers to actively encourage frontline staff to raise an alarm if they believe they have witnessed poor practice, and to protect them if they do.

The announcement comes as the Nuffield Health Hospitals honour ‘International Nurses’ Day’ this Monday May 12.

Nuffield Health is the first independent hospital provider to back the patient safety campaign, and join a select group of NHS Trusts from across the UK who have chosen to do so.  Nuffield Health hope the move will result in all independent providers of hospital services following suit.

The campaign, led by the Nursing Times, aims to promote collaboration and commitment between hospitals to empower staff to raise concerns, safe in the knowledge that they will be supported and not suffer as a consequence.

The campaign also calls on the Government to introduce a statutory duty of candour compelling health professionals and managers to be open about care failings, and to protect staff who feel they need to take their concerns outside of the organisation, should they believe it to be the right course of action.

Speaking about the initiative, Nuffield Hospital Bournemouth Matron, Anne Richardson, said:  “Any initiative which helps to raise the bar in terms of patient safety should be applauded.  Nurses are at the forefront of medical care in hospitals and have a responsibility to flag up any incidents which they believe might be detrimental to the care of their patients.  Following the Francis report into care at Mid Staffordshire Hospital it is imperative that we empower frontline staff to make decisions and raise concerns without fear of reprisal or bullying. There is no place for this within Nuffield Hospital Bournemouth, nor in any modern healthcare setting.”  

Jenni Middleton, Editor of the Nursing Times, said: “We are delighted that Nuffield Health has signed up to Nursing Times ‘Speak out safely’ campaign. It’s really important that all organisations in healthcare encourage their staff to raise concerns and listen to them and act on them when they do. This is the only way to make healthcare organisations safe for patients. I am particularly pleased that Nuffield is the first private healthcare provider to sign up, and I hope it inspires other independent and private organisations to sign up to the campaign.”