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NHS Employers. Workforce health and wellbeing framework. 2018. (accessed 12 March 2020)

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Gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare: the report of a rapid policy review [The Williams report]. 2018. (accessed 12 March 2020)

Just culture and staff wellbeing

26 March 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 6


Sam Foster, Chief Nurse, Oxford University Hospitals, considers the issue of poor physical and mental health in the context of the complaints process, just culture and workplace support

I have written previously about the use of A Just Culture Guide (NHS Improvement, 2018) to support systematic thinking when faced with patient safety incidents and how it can be useful as a tool when dealing with complaints against nurses or midwives in a fair and just way.

In 2018 the review by Professor Sir Norman Williams was set up to conduct a rapid policy review into the issues relating to gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare. This review supported the thinking in the development of the just culture guide:

‘A just culture considers wider systemic issues where things go wrong, enabling professionals and those operating the system to learn without fear of retribution’

And also:

‘In a just culture investigators principally attempt to understand why failings occurred and how the system led to sub-optimal behaviours.’

I recently spoke at a conference, the subject of which was ‘managing nurses in difficulty’. One of the themes throughout the conference was ill health, both as a contributing factor in why individuals had acted in a certain manner, and as a result of individuals going through a formal process.

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