Helené Donnelly

The Brewery, London
23 September 2020


  Helené Donnelly

Helené Donnelly

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust , ambassador for cultural change


Helené Donnelly is the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Ambassador for Cultural Change & Lead Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. Helené was appointed in 2013 to develop and embed a role to support staff to raise concerns and ensure that the voice of the frontline is heard clearly at a senior level within the organisation.

Helené previously worked in the A&E department at Stafford Hospital and following her experience and difficulties in trying to raise concerns there, she was a key witness at the Public Inquiry held by Robert Francis QC into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

As Ambassador for Cultural Change, Helené has a clear remit from the Trust Board to act freely and with complete autonomy from the management team as another route for issues of concern to be raised at the highest level. Helené is interested in gathering feedback about staff wellbeing, if they believe they are listened to and what barriers might prevent staff from raising concerns.

Helené is a registered Nurse Practitioner, with over twenty years of experience working in the NHS and Social Care. In addition to her work at the Partnership Trust, Helené acted as an advisor in Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak up Review (2015). She has advised the Department of Health, NHS England, NHSI, CQC, RCN, and the NHS Confederation. She has worked with the NMC to develop improvements in raising concerns/duty of candour and witness liaison, and is a member of the NMC Professional Strategic Advisory Group. She has also worked with Protect- formerly Public Concern at Work (PCaW) and Health Education England (HEE) to develop national raising concerns training, now implemented by the National FTSU Guardians Office (NGO).

She advised the CQC on the implementation and development of the National Independent Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Office established in 2016, and local Guardian roles across the NHS as recommended by Sir Robert Francis.

Helené continues to advise the government, regulators and relevant stakeholders on the importance of embedding and sustaining positive cultures, where staff are genuinely encouraged and enabled to speak up and voice concerns to protect staff and patients.  

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