Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust Council of Governors meeting

16th May 2019

I attended my first meeting as Partner Governor, representing NREC, and I was made to feel part of the team right from the beginning.

It struck me that the gender balance on the board was very good, but age balance was as expected with younger people being under-represented, and we all know how difficult this is to address. The trust does put a lot of effort into ensuring that young people are represented, and younger staff and service users were both present though.

The first presentation was on the Freedom To Speak Up initiative which is essentially a much better way of describing people who raise concerns, rather than ‘whistleblower’. This stems from the problems that Mid Staffs experienced between 2009 and 2015. NHFT have had over 200 concerns raised since December 2016, more staff are speaking up, and more staff have the confidence to speak up. Since December 2017 specific support has been given to ‘vulnerable’ groups and a having a representative from the BAME community has increased the number of people from this group coming forward with their concerns.

The second presentation was on Bullying and Harassment. The trust does receive a lot of complaints relating to this, but nevertheless does well in comparison with other trusts. The discussion moved on to whether the terms ‘Bullying and Harassment’ are clearly defined and clearly understood. The feedback from the conversation focussed on communication and conversation.

Northamptonshire County Council have produced their 2019 report into Public Health and Wellbeing which includes a section on Health and Wellbeing Inequalities. It is interesting reading.

The meeting concluded with an open discussion which included the new Childrens Trust to be set up by NCC, and of course the new Unitary Authorities which may complicate the provision of many services countywide.

I am extremely impressed by the professionalism of the Board and the Management. We can all be assured that NHFT is in very safe hands and is in a very strong position to provide good services, despite the financial constraints that it works under.

Martin Sawyer

NREC Board

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