Just Culture is about creating a culture of fairness, openness and learning in the NHS. This is to make colleagues feel confident to speak up when things go wrong, rather than fearing blame.
Supporting colleagues to be open about mistakes allows valuable lessons to be learnt. This helps to prevent the same mistakes being repeated. The NHS Improvement guide is a powerful tool in promoting cultural change in seeking to avoid a blame culture.
Our Disciplinary Policy has been updated to incorporate the principles of 'Just Culture'. This will form part of initial consideration of whether issues of alleged conduct should be investigated under the Policy. It’s important that the Just Culture Guidance is assessed against the circumstances. After which a view can be taken on the appropriate next steps. The guide supports conversations between managers of whether a staff member involved in a patient safety incident, requires specific individual support or intervention to work safely. Refer to the guidance of Just Culture. The guidance;
- asks a series of questions that help clarify whether there truly is something specific about an individual that needs support or management. Or whether the issue is wider, in which case singling out the individual is often unfair and counter-productive.
- helps reduce the role of unconscious bias when making decisions. It ensures individuals are consistently treated equally and fairly no matter what their staff group, profession or background. This has similarities with the approach being taken by a number of NHS trusts to reduce disproportionate disciplinary action against black and minority ethnic staff.
Quality colleagues are working with stakeholders to review and adapt relevant SOPs and training packages to reflect the Just Culture. These will be updated in due course. In the meantime, you may wish to take time to review resources available via the NHS Improvement page. This includes a short video which can be accessed via YouTube.