Today, I am very proud that we are the first Private hospital within SVHA to launch the Ethos Program. The Ethos program has been introduced to compliment a range of initiatives both SVHA and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne have in place to promote a culture of safety.

You will all be familiar with our Stay Safe Rules. Through the introduction of Think Safe. Stay Safe, we know we are keeping our staff physically safer, and we have seen a dramatic reduction in Lost Time Injuries. But what about the emotional safety of our staff?

We recognise that the majority of our staff come to work each and every day to live our values, and in turn, they have a positive impact on our ability to deliver excellent patient care. SVPHM is an organisation with strong values of Compassion. Excellence, Justice and Integrity. Poor behaviours are not consistent with our values. Unfortunately, the health care sector on the whole has entrenched cultures of poor behaviours that put the health and safety of our staff and our patients at risk. While healthcare settings have policies and procedures in place to address poor behaviours, up till now, little has been done in the health care sector to tackle this issue.

In order to ensure we can deliver safe, gentle and accountable healthcare, SVHA has committed to the Ethos program, which acknowledges and rewards staff that live our values, but also responds quickly, equitably and consistently when staff exhibit behaviours that fail to meet the expectations of our organisation.

Through an online reporting tool, staff can make either a positive or negative Ethos report.

In the first instance, I would always encourage staff to speak up if they witness behaviours that undermine our staff or our patient safety, but I am also aware that in the past, there have been barriers to staff speaking up. The Ethos program is designed to remove barriers to speaking up and makes it easier and safer for staff to be able to report confidentially.

The program allows us to recognise staff who exhibit positive behaviours and are exceptional role models through a positive Ethos report, and it also allows us to respond quickly and fairly when a negative Ethos report is received through the delivery of an Ethos message.

Any reports that our staff make through the Ethos reporting tool will be assessed by our local triage team to determine how the report should be actioned.  Any positive reports are forwarded to the staff member’s manager for acknowledgement and discussion with the subject of the report.

Most negative reports received through the system will result in a Level 1 reflect message, which is aimed at providing information about the perceived impact of the behaviour on others. This message is informal and non-punitive, and not a part of our Human Resources or disciplinary processes. If, however, a report is made through the Ethos program that is considered to be serious in nature, the report may be escalated to more formal processes.

We recognise that not all of our staff have access to computers while at work or at home, and for this reason, we have set up an Ethos phone number (9411 7450), where staff can access support to make an Ethos report.

It is important to note that most staff will never receive an Ethos message, however, if you are the recipient of an Ethos message, remember that this message is designed as feedback to provide information and an opportunity for reflection. The person who delivers the message to you, an Ethos messenger, has been carefully selected and specifically trained to fulfill this role. There is follow up support available to you if you need it.

The Ethos program is designed for all of our staff, and encourages a culture of speaking up and feedback. It is designed to ensure our staff and our patients feel welcome, valued and safe.

If you would like further information about the Ethos program, you can refer to the information on the hospital intranet page, speak with your manager, or contact Carolyn Moore on 9411 7450.


Reporting tool link:

Ethos phone number: 9411 7450