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Friday, 17 November 2017
New appointment to help staff speak up freely
01 December 2016

Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.A new kind of guardian responsible for helping members of staff to raise any concerns about patient safety has been appointed jointly at Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals.

Tom Fleetwood will take up his role as Ipswich’s first Freedom to Speak Up Guardian on Thursday (1 December). He has been appointed jointly with Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust – which has had a guardian in place since October 2015 – to provide confidential advice and support to any member of staff who raises a concern.

Freedom to Speak Up Guardians have been introduced nationwide following Sir Robert Francis QC’s report into whistleblowing in the NHS, which examined the causes of the failings in care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Fleetwood, who lives in the Colchester area, will work independently, making sure that staff’s voices are heard while escalating any concerns to the right level so that they can be resolved efficiently.

He will build on the strong foundations already in place at Ipswich and Colchester, liaising with both boards of directors and executive teams to continue developing both organisations as open and transparent places to work.

“I am honoured to be appointed to this role and given the opportunity to support staff at every level,” said Mr Fleetwood, who retired from the army in February 2012 after a 34-year career, the last three years of which were spent as the Commander of Colchester Garrison.

“I will be available to talk to anybody who has a concern, and will focus on making sure that staff understand that any issues they raise will be addressed at the right level by the right people, with appropriate action taken as a result.

“This will be a challenging job but one with considerable opportunity and I am looking forward to it. I hope that I will be able to make a real difference and that staff will make the most of this genuine attempt to make sure their voices are heard.”

Mr Fleetwood has served as non-executive director at Colchester since 2012, but will step down from that role on Wednesday as he is unable to hold both positions at the same time.

David White, chairman of both trusts, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tom to this important new role.

“His appointment will further strengthen the support we offer to colleagues who raise concerns – no matter how large or small – while giving them added confidence that any issues will be addressed both confidentially and fairly.”