Using research to help develop communications with staff

Royal United Hospitals, Bath

The Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust wanted to trial and further develop a set of communications approaches targeted towards staff, and aimed at promoting a safer culture. The communications were intended to create a better feedback loop to demonstrate the value of reporting safety incidents and encourage greater engagement from staff.

The RandallFox team brought huge energy, positivity and insights to the process. They really helped move us forward.
— Dr Carol Peden Associate Medical Director

RandallFox was asked to explore background attitudes towards safety and incident reporting among staff, including barriers to engagement. We were also able to assess the communications materials and hear staff views on how they might be developed. We needed to hear from staff at different levels and in different roles, so we took a mixed approach: conducting in-depth telephone interviews with senior stakeholders and decision-makers; discussion groups with nurses at the end of their shift (tempting them in with good cake); and a number of simultaneous groups with junior doctors during a lunchtime training slot. 

The research confirmed the RUH team’s hypothesis that different methods of communication are needed to improve feedback and learning from incidents. Speaking first-hand with staff meant we were able to identify areas where providing more information, feedback or support seemed likely to have the most positive impact. Following the research, the Trust has developed an infographic and a series of films with leaders talking about their learning from incidents.  In addition they have held some targeted incident reporting weeks focused on themes for different groups of staff. The hospital has seen a significant increase in incident reporting rates.