Acting on Concerns

Do you have experience of acting on concerns about quality of care, and getting something done as a result? Our film needs your story.

My latest project – a collaboration with Murray Anderson Wallace of PatientStories – is an educational film supporting health professionals to raise or respond to concerns.  At the moment, we are sourcing the stories on which the film will be based. We’ve done some fascinating interviews already. It’s clear to us there are people all over the NHS prepared to speak out on behalf of patients. They have sometimes found it daunting to raise their concerns, but no one has told us they regret doing what they did.

We are making the film because research tells us that when people are thinking about having a daunting conversation, they tend to overestimate the likelihood it will go wrong.  We have heard how NHS staff do get these conversations right, and do get action, and we want to share what they have learned along the way. We believe that health professionals need to be armed with knowledge – as well as good intentions – to act on concerns effectively.

Miceli book imageThe stories that doctors and nurses have told us are infinitely richer than any we’ve read in the research evidence, but they also reflect what other researchers have discovered. Like Miceli and associates we’ve found there are some common questions people ask themselves as they raise issues in organisations.

  • Is there really a problem? Other people think this is OK – but now something’s happened that I just can’t accept…  
  • Is anybody else sorting this out? With a bit of luck someone else is already doing it – but I think I really need to ask around…
  • What are the organisation’s values around this? Maybe it won’t think it’s important, or  it won’t protect me if I raise a concern…
  • Is it really down to me to act on this? There are people around who are more senior / experienced / better qualified / closer to the problem, but they don’t seem to be doing anything…
  • Can I imagine a course of action that is likely to work? Maybe there are people in my network who can give me a bit of advice…
  • Is it going to feel worse to do something, or worse to do nothing? Doing nothing feels more and more stressful…

If you have experiences you could share with us, we promise to keep them confidential until you give us permission to use your story.  We will anonymise stories to protect the professionals and patients involved.  We can use creative approaches – such as animation – to protect people’s identities. You can decide whether you trust us to use your story wisely, and change your mind, anytime before we start making the film.

And if you’d be interested in telling us your story please email me to make an arrangement to talk in confidence.