A care worker from Fraserburgh faced a ban from working in the profession after lying about an incident of poor care. A social media discussion ensued about how you can ensure your staff tell you the whole truth. Various suggestions were paraded as solutions

  • Registration of staff be the answer?
  • Mandatory signature on a Duty of Candour form for staff
  • Leadership improvements
  • Feedback  mechanisms

So what is the answer? It's a complex question with more than one answer. There are two critical issues here: leadership and feedback. 

Strong leadership, with a balance between a 'no blame' culture and an expectation that people will always do their best in a caring and compassionate way, will engender a sound environment where people know what is expected of them, where they can reveal problems or issues without fear. People need to know that feedback will be treated with respect and acted upon. A signature on a document as part of a solid induction could help build that confidence but without that leadership fillip, then it won't make people tell the truth. 

Evidence of activity can be generated in a number of ways; essentially the care provider needs a robust performance quality feedback loop. There are many ways to do this: NHS Choices, or the new Trip Advisor style website launched by the government; you can use CCTV surveillance, peer reviews,  forums, focus groups, stakeholder surveys. A care provider needs both instant 'crisis' feedback and longer term 'benchmark' feedback. They need measurable information and they need insights. More importantly, they need confidence that the feedback they get is honest.

And even more importantly, in using a robust process as an integral part of a management cycle, by sharing the results and by getting buy in to the action plans it generates, care providers embed a sense of leadership and honesty into the culture of the business.

General NewsLydia Walker