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Speaking up – a joint statement by CIW and HIW

This is a joint statement, shared with providers of health and social care, from Gillian Baranski, Chief Inspector, Care Inspectorate Wales and Alun Jones, Interim Chief Executive, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.

We are experiencing an unprecedented health crisis and want to thank health and care staff all over Wales for their dedication, care and hard work in tackling the many challenges facing them and the people they are caring for. We know this is an extremely stressful and difficult time for everyone and many of you will have concerns about increased risks of unintentional harm to you, your families, your colleagues and to people who use services.

Given the level and pace of change to services needed to respond to the pandemic, now more than ever, safety remains a priority for the whole system. Everyone who has a role in providing care needs to be more vigilant so that we can reduce the risk of avoidable harm to people. You can do this by following safety systems, guidance and recommendations that ensure the right care is provided, as intended, every time and continuing to report safety incidents and concerns locally using your professional and clinical judgement. We need to continue to learn from what works as well as what does not.

All leaders of health and care services can support this by encouraging a supportive culture where people are able to speak up about risks and adverse outcomes, without fear of blame or repercussions. Importantly, we want to encourage workers to speak up about anything that gets in the way of providing good care so that potential harm is prevented.

There are many ways to speak up. Please continue to report anything concerning you; this may be through local risk management processes, through a discussion with your line manager, a suggestion for improvement, or bringing a matter to the attention of a regulator. Speaking up is an essential element of a safe culture and should be ‘business as usual’ for everyone working in care, regardless of their role.

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