National business award for Mersey Care's 'Just and Learning Culture'

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is continuing its drive to support positive behaviours within the NHS by releasing the award-winning next module of its staff programme in civility.

The latest in a series of modules for the Just and Learning Culture course developed by the Trust alongside Northumbria University, titled 'Respect and Civility Awareness', is available here and all the modules can be accessed here.

“It's four years since our Trust began our journey to supporting staff differently," explained Mersey Care’s Executive Director of Workforce, Amanda Oates. "We’ve moved away from asking ‘who did this?’ when something doesn’t go according to plan, and now we ask ‘what happened?’.

"We're learning, we are not victimising or blaming people and we are seeing much better results all round for our people and those we support.”

The latest module, which takes between 20-30 minutes to complete, includes a ‘Peep Show’ style video scenario similar to the TV series, where we see interactions from the point of view of each character and learn how they react to a real-life situation. Leading experts offer their views including the Trust’s Chief Executive Joe Rafferty CBE, who talks about Mersey Care’s own progress.

The launch of the module follows two award wins for the Respect and Civility Programme at the prestigious national Business Culture Awards, winning the Public/Not for Profit category and the Bronze Award overall, in addition to being highly commended and  finalists in further categories in a competitive field which included organisations such as TSB, Barclays Bank and the Ministry Of Defence.

Working with leading academics, Mersey Care’s so-called Restorative Just and Learning Culture programme has reduced staff disciplinaries and saved over £1.7m in the last few years. Stronger results in the NHS Staff Survey show colleagues feel more valued and more supported. The Trust has invested time for specific work streams to look to understand issues such as incivility and learn how poor behaviour affects people’s abilities.

A range of resources has been created to support staff and policies which contained judgemental language have been rewritten. These include a ‘jigsaw’ of negative and positive behaviours to guide difficult conversations, weekly online guidance throughout the first lockdown, and a target of 100 percent training for all new starters.

Mrs Oates said: “Our restorative just and learning culture began after staff told us they didn’t feel safe to raise concerns. We're still on that journey but it’s clear the HR practices of old did not help create an atmosphere of psychological safety.

"We must have rules but we also need staff to feel safe to perform and innovate. We have a partnership ranging from our staff side, our senior clinicians, our communications and workforce experts and our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. Crucially, this comes from the Board and has ambassadors at all grades and levels.”