One of the reasons why this campaign was formed was to provide Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) staff with a safe mechanism to raise concerns about the radical redesign, which many felt was impossible or futile within NSFT.
Our campaign has always recommended raising concerns internally whenever possible. That said, the culture at NSFT is remarkably intolerant of dissent and statutory whistleblower protection is limited: in our experience the range of what NSFT considers to be ‘gross misconduct by seriously risking, or bringing, the reputation of the Trust, or its officers, into disrepute’ is exceedingly broad, including: posting links on the Internet to articles in national newspapers; talking to media organisations without naming NSFT; even merely expressing the view that NSFT is badly managed or that the radical redesign was a bad idea. NSFT has tried to sack staff for speaking out and has used final warnings, confidentiality clauses and the threat of referrals to professional bodies to ensure silence. If this has happened to you, please let us know in absolute confidence.
NSFT has spent thousands of pounds to investigate whether this campaign could be censored by legal means and whether staff members of the campaign could be disciplined. The most depressing aspect of NSFT’s legal complaints is that they overwhelmingly concern what our contributors write about the competence and composition of the Board and management rather than what is written about the crisis in mental health services. Even at our very first meeting last November, NSFT took surreptitious notes which tried to identify speakers (users of services, staff and general public) that were subsequently distributed amongst executives.
Given NSFT’s increasingly aggressive stance towards our campaign, including the banning of access to our website from NSFT computers as a ‘security risk’, we will shortly be deleting nearly fifty NSFT email addresses from our mailing list. We know that staff have been warned about contributing to our website and we do not want to the same to happen to those who receive our newsletter. You can register a new personal email address by entering your details here. Do not worry if you are one of the hundreds of campaign supporters who receive our newsletter on a non-NSFT email: you will continue to receive our emails without having to make any changes.
If you don’t receive the newsletter, check in your spam and updates folders and make sure you have clicked on the link in the confirmation email we send automatically after you register. If you have problems, please get in touch.
Campaign supporters who are employees of NSFT should be careful about commenting about NSFT on both social (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and mainstream (Newspapers, BBC, etc.) media if they could be identified by their username or what is written. If you are a staff member and have concerns you believe need to be brought to the attention of commissioners, regulators or the media, the safest approach is to get in touch rather than attempt to go it alone. What shouldn’t happen is that we say nothing because we are afraid. Bullies derive their power from fear. We could all be John. We can all be Spartacus.
If you have trouble viewing the embedded video below, you can view it directly on Youtube. Sorry, this issue is a sometime side effect of the on-going war between Google and Apple which is beyond our control.