October is Speak Up Month

Date published: 01 October 2021

The pandemic has highlighted that speaking up has never been more important for the benefit of colleagues and patients.

Speak Up Month in October is an opportunity to raise awareness of how much we value speaking up in our organisation.

The theme of this year’s Speak Up Month is Speak Up, Listen Up, Follow Up. To make speaking up business as usual it is essential that when people speak up, they are listened to, and that learning and improvement happens as a result.

Speaking up is for everyone.

Everyone is encouraged to Speak Up if something is not quite right or can be improved.

Everyone should Listen Up when someone speaks up to them. When someone speaks up to you, say ‘thank you’, respond appropriately and escalate matters where needed so that the right actions are taken.

And leaders should ensure that they Follow Up and use the information and intelligence that speaking up brings for learning and improvement. 

Here at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we celebrate Speak Up and Black History Month with weekly storytelling events. Trust Leaders will share their experiences of Speaking Up; Listening Up and Following up; reflections and learning. For Black History we will hear from inspiring leaders from black heritage.

The Trust’s Freedom To Speak Up Guardian, Cherma St Clair, said: “I am proud to be a person with a voice; promoting many voices to be heard, taken seriously, initiate follow-up actions to influence learning and change.”

Patricia Wright, CEO of the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Speaking up is vitally important not only for patient safety but also for the safety of our staff. I am determined that our Trust has a safe and supportive working environment, so I welcome the opportunity this month gives up to celebrate black history and our willingness to ‘Speak Up’.”

The National Guardian’s Office, in association with Health Education England, has developed an e-learning package which is freely available for anyone wherever they work. You can access it here:

The first module, Speak Up, available for all workers, describes what speaking up is and why it is important. The second session, Listen Up, is aimed at managers at all levels and focuses on listening and understanding the barriers to speaking up. The final module, Follow Up, aimed at senior leaders – including executive and non-executive directors, lay members and governors – is coming soon.

We would encourage you to complete this e-learning and make a Speak Up Pledge to show how you support speaking up, listening up and following up in your work.

Making speaking up business as usual will enhance all of our working lives and improve the quality and safety of care. Listening and acting upon matters raised means that Freedom to Speak Up will help us to be the best place to work.

Find out more from . You can get involved with Speak Up Month on Twitter and LinkedIn by using the hashtag #SpeakUpListenUpFollowUp