Paul Fox, Texthelp

Expo 2017 Day 2: Improved Care, Culture and Supporting Staff

A key theme on day 2 is around developing people to deliver improved care. 

A key theme on day 2 is around developing people to deliver improved care. The national framework Developing People - Improving Care, launched in Oct 2016,  aims to develop leadership and improvement capability throughout the health & care system. Its goals are to create the right conditions to equip and encourage all staff and organisations involved in NHS activity to continually improve health & care services/systems. 

NHS improvement’s Adam Sewell-Jones stressed that whilst the backbone of the framework is about developing leaders with the right skills, the reality is everyone within the NHS is a leader and as such this vital framework is relevant to everyone.

Through the course of the presentations, the audience were invited to cast their votes on what they see as the key driver to improve the NHS. Overwhelmingly - 76% of the audience - see greater focus on developing NHS people as essential. When pressed further, the majority - 64% - expressed the belief that the primary driver to get this right will come by developing compassionate inclusive and effective leaders at all levels. 

NHS Culture

The NHS acknowledge that its culture - ‘the way they do things’ - directly affects the quality of care they provide. Research shows the most powerful factor influencing culture is leadership. Leaders who model compassion and inclusion are the key to creating cultures of continuous improvement in the NHS.

What do we mean by this? Well, a compassionate and inclusive workplace is one where staff aren’t afraid of declaring a disability or challenge, of speaking out if they’re being bullied or treated differently.

Hidden disabilities

As a case in point, let’s look briefly at dyslexia, the  so-called hidden disability. It’s a fact that as many as 10% of the UK population has dyslexia. Within the Health sector dyslexia is more common still, with the RCN stating that as many as 14% of nurses are affected by the condition. Yet, despite its commonality, prejudices still exist, resulting in an estimated 50% of affected adults hiding it from their employer.

Coping strategies are varied, but often involve working longer hours or taking work home, increasing stress and absenteeism, low morale, disengaged and less productive staff.

Supporting staff

Let’s imagine an NHS where staff with challenges like dyslexia feel empowered to share their difficulties with their employer without fear of stigma or bullying. By supporting staff with challenges - like literacy or language difficulties - staff will feel valued, engaged and empowered to be the best they can be. Most importantly, they’ll be enabled to show compassion themselves.

Richard Branson frequently highlights the importance of putting staff first, believing that when you take care of your staff, they will take care of your customers. Nowhere is this truer than the NHS where every member of staff  is also a service user. 

Supporting staff doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, indeed digital technology makes it easier than ever before. And as a bonus, the benefits of digital support solutions can be enjoyed by all staff, resulting in increasing efficiency, empowering staff to do their job to the best of their abilities - and in doing so make the NHS the very best it can be.  

What do you think?

Join in the conversation at @TexthelpWork. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


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