Freedom to Speak Up Guardians

The Freedom to Speak Up Guardians operate independently, impartially, and objectively to support all staff within our organisation to raise any concerns that you may have.  The Guardians, whilst remaining independant, work alongside the senior leadership team to support a more open and transparent place to work, where all colleagues are actively encouraged and enabled to speak up safely.

As Guardians we will help to:

  • Protect patient safety and quality of care
  • Improve the experience of workers
  • Promote learning and improvement

We are here to ensure that:

  • Staff are supported in speaking up
  • Barriers to speaking up are addressed
  • A positive culture of speaking up is developed
  • Issues raised are used as opportunities for learning and improvement

Contact Us

Call us on 01752 433381
Email us at



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Our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians


Zoe Young 

Head and shoulder shot of Zoe Young.Hello, my name is Zoe and I am delighted to be one of your new team of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians within UHP.  I am passionate about providing excellent experiences for patients and staff within the Trust and I believe the only way to achieve excellence is to empower everyone at all levels to have a voice and to enable them to be heard.

Working in such a large and busy Trust is not easy. I am a Band 6 Junior Sister on Shaugh Ward Orthopaedic Trauma Unit and have been in post two and half years. My experiences of this role have been very valuable in learning that achieving safe and effective environments for patients and staff is a continuous journey. Peoples’ needs are constantly changing and as such we as a Trust must adapt and change with them.

I know that things don’t always go as planned and I have had to deal with complaints and incidents when things go wrong. We are human and we make mistakes. I believe strongly in a culture of learning and I am proud to work within our one big team but it is everyone’s responsibility to raise concerns if they see a situation or behaviour that means a patient or colleague is not being cared for or treated appropriately and this is not always easy.

 I understand that people can be worried about getting themselves or their colleagues into trouble and I believe the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Role is essential to overcoming such fears and anxieties. Talking about difficult things is not easy yet I believe it is important to share our experiences. People need to be heard to feel valued and some people need more support than others to speak up.  As a Guardian I am here to listen and to help.

Mark Binnie

Head and should shot of Mark Binnie Hello, my name is Mark and I am the Deputy Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at UHP.  

My background and experience to enable me to carry out this role has come from hospital Pharmacy, where I have worked for over 17 years. Prior to starting my post as a F2SU Guardian I worked for nearly 6 years as a Pharmacy Technician at Livewell Southwest. During this time I was able to improve my skills and gain experience of ward based work within the wider MDT. It was an amazing experience but I always felt that I was missing something. 

On reflection, what I was missing was a sense of belonging which I had from working at UHP. I started my career path as a Pharmacy Technician at UHP all those years ago and that will always stay with me. However, the opportunity to take up the role of a F2SU Guardian was a no brainer for me – being in a position to be able to listen to and support staff members Trust wide is something that has always appealed to me. 

Speaking Up is not always easy, for a variety of reasons, but I hope that my skills, experience and professionalism will help bring out the confidence in other staff members to do so. Staff should feel that they are able to speak up and be listened to, without fear of negative consequence. It is vital that all staff have a confidential and safe platform to enable Speaking Up, and that’s what the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians represent.  

A large part of my Guardian role is working alongside and supporting the Staff Networks through allyship, providing visual support by visiting all the UHP wards and departments and liaising with our brilliant F2SU Champions. If you are reading this and you think that a visit from the F2SU Guardian team would be beneficial to you and your colleagues, then please feel free to get in touch! 

To have the opportunity to promote a healthy and open culture which positively impacts our staff members is a privilege. I feel privileged to be in this role. 

Maria Farrow-Jones

Head and shoulder shot of Maria Farrow-JonesHi everyone, my name is Maria and I am your Lead Freedom to Speak up Guardian. I joined UHP in September 2022 having previously worked as a Speech & Language Therapist for the last 22 years with Torbay and South Devon Healthcare. I have worked with children and adults both as inpatients, outpatients and in the community, but mainly as a clinical lead for voice working closely with ENT colleagues to help patients with voice and throat problems.

I have experience managing the community SLT team and then the adult SLT service with a particular focus on how I could support staff with the stress caused by Covid and how we could change and improve our service to meet increasing demands in new effective ways. I have always been focused on staff wellbeing and led work to improve respect and civility and embed principles of a Just Restorative Culture within my team and the wider trust. I really enjoy supporting and promoting the development of staff and what gives me most satisfaction is helping my colleagues to create a workplace where they feel listened to and supported, and where they can then provide the best care for their patients. I am hoping that I will be able to use my wide range of experiences to develop and grow our Speaking Up culture ensuring that all our one big team feel able to Speak Up.


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