Published on: 28 April 2021

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is proud to be leading the way on workforce wellbeing and safeguarding after being asked to showcase one of their initiatives to the National Care Quality Commission (CQC) Safeguarding Board.

David Anderson, Chaplain at ELHT, and Catherine Randall, National Deputy Head of Safeguarding at NHS England, met with the CQC’s Safeguarding team last week to explain all about ELHT’s ‘Listening Lounge’s’, where staff can access individual and group support sessions with the Trust’s therapy dog, Jasper.

The ‘Listening Lounge’s’ have been running at the Trust for the last year, and staff describe them as a lifeline that have helped them openly discuss their fears and experiences during what has been an extremely challenging year. The sessions provide an open forum to talk with David and their colleagues, and staff are guided through the hour-long sessions with questions and opportunities to share their feelings. Staff from the Critical Care Unit are also provided with follow up support from their Peer Support Team. 

The pair were invited by the CQC Safeguarding Board to share some of these lived experiences of staff over the last year and to advise on how they could implement a similar framework for CQC hospital inspectors who visit Trusts across the country.

Following the presentation to the CQC Safeguarding Board, David said: “It was a great privilege to present to the board and many of the senior CQC inspectors.  It is so important that the experience of staff is heard at the highest level and recognised. The opportunity to influence national policy around staff well-being is a great honour.”

The ‘Listening Lounge’s’ have also been recognised by NHS England, with Catherine Randall empowering a safeguarding case study which will be recognised as one of the ‘ten most inspiring call for actions during the pandemic’.

She said: “It is clear that ELHT is dedicated to providing Safe, Personal and Effective care to all their patients, and this can only be done via having a well-supported workforce.

It has been the greatest honour to have had the opportunity to work on deployment at ELHT during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with David and Jasper has been a highlight whilst recognising the horrific trauma and grief that our patients and staff have suffered. Showcasing this work at the CQC board and nationally within NHS England will change hearts and minds forever. The importance of rest, restoration and supervision is paramount”.

David is now being invited to meet with the Care Quality Commission Chief Executive, along with other senior inspectors, as part of their Senior Leadership Team, as the CQC looks at the enhancing of staff well-being as part of their inspection focus.  

You can click here to read the case study on the ‘Listening Lounge’s, and also here to watch a video to help support best practice.