My message this week reflects on the report of the Gosport Independent Panel into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and what it means for us. The report is difficult reading and in particular our thoughts go out to the many families affected.

What struck me the most about these tragic findings is how healthcare professionals and families were both raising concerns at the time, and that they were not listened to or acted upon and how the systems in place at the time failed all involved. To see the full report please click here.

In order for us to have a safe and open culture, speaking up about any concerns you may have around patient care and safety - even if you think it is too small to raise - is really important, in fact it's vital. Not just because it is part of our professional responsibility to do so, but because it will help us to keep improving our services for the benefit of all patients and colleagues.

We want to normalise the process of raising concerns but at the same time I recognise some of you may feel anxious about doing this with your team, line manager, supervisor, lead clinician or tutor for one reason or another. If this is the case you have the option of talking to one of our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, Jacqui Rees and one of our Non-Executive Directors Keith Malcourone, confidentially. Their role is to work alongside us all to help and provide us with an independent mechanism to go to with any issue you may have.

I know that many of you do actively report issues and feel able to do so because when I was on one of our wards recently a member of the team approached me to share a patient care concern. This showed courageous patient advocacy and gave us the opportunity to reflect and have a conversation with the wider team, building understanding and considering steps we might take to ensure the learning was secured.

I really want to encourage you all to speak up if you have a worry and to reassure you that you are safe to do so and that we will be listening and learning, not blaming and seeking to take the right action, commensurate with the issue.

Our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are looking to develop and support a network of Freedom to Speak Up Ambassadors across the Trust to ensure all parts of the organisation and everyone has easy access to someone outside their immediate line-management chain who can advise and support them.

It is also very important to "hear" our patients and their families so please do listen and support them and respond using the appropriate mechanisms to concerns raised in this way.

On a lighter note I was part of the ASPH Dragons Den panel today and will report more fully on that next week but suffice to say all pitches were successful and the Dragons were enormously impressed with all the creativity, innovation and team work on display.

In the meantime I hope you all have a great weekend.

With best wishes,

Suzanne Rankin
Chief Executive