NHS Blood and Transplant People First

Just Culture

Just Culture is about creating a culture of fairness, openness and learning in the NHS by making 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 so that the same errors can be prevented from being repeated. The NHS Improvement guide is  a powerful tool in promoting cultural change in seeking to avoid a blame culture.

We have recently reviewed and updated our Disciplinary Policy requiring that we consider the principles of 'Just Culture' as part of our 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 and a view taken on the appropriate next steps.  The guide supports a conversation between managers about 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.

  • It asks a series of questions that help clarify whether there truly is something specific about an individual that needs support or management versus whether the issue is wider, in which case singling out the individual is often unfair and counter-productive. 
  • it helps reduce the role of unconscious bias when making decisions and will help ensure all 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.

Colleagues in Quality are working with stakeholders to review and adapt relevant SOPs and training packages to reflect the consideration of Just Culture and 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 including a short video which can be accessed via YouTube.

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