Health Education England (HEE) wanted to produce a video learning resource for healthcare staff to encourage them to raise concerns about patient safety. The film was commissioned on the back of complaints made at Mid Staffs hospital trust about its treatment of some patients. The film had to demonstrate the importance of raising concerns, address any potential barriers and highlight the importance of supporting those who raise concerns, no matter what their position.
Our proposal was to use a number of reconstructions alongside interviews with real staff and managers to portray an atmosphere of openness within senior leadership. We created three different scenarios across a community, primary and secondary care setting, so that we appealed to the widest possible audience. Each reconstruction featured a patient, a clinician or nurse and another member of staff or a student who would be the person to raise the concern. In consultation with a wide project board, we began to develop the script and spent a great deal of time talking to staff to develop the scenarios, so they were both realistic and medically accurate. These scenarios were introduced by our in house presenter Kate Simms, who highlighted the key points and introduced the interviewees.
Casting was very important and as well as sourcing good actors, we also worked with the Casualties’ Union to play the roles of patients. One of our challenges was to source “live” healthcare locations in which we could film, so worked with a number of hospital trusts to secure permissions. We filmed at weekends and in the evening to avoid disruption to normal routines. On location, we secured the help of experts from each care setting to ensure actions, props and scripts were technically accurate. Once we’d filmed the scenarios, we shot the presenter links in our studio, against a green screen and created a suitable backdrop. We created appropriate titles and graphics in line with HEE branding.
The film was delivered on budget and in good time to support the publication of the “Freedom to Speak up” report by Sir Robert Francis. It is now used widely as a staff awareness film across the NHS. Such was its success that we were chosen to make a second film, “Responding to Concerns”, to help NHS managers support staff once a concern is raised and offer training and advice on how to deal with difficult situations.