We are delighted to announce that Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS) has become the first community services provider in the country to be awarded the Listening into Action (LiA) Kite Mark for 2017. The formal accreditation of GCS is a reflection of the four year commitment from Chief Executive, Paul Jennings, and his team, to ‘changing the way we do change’ across Gloucestershire.
The backdrop for GCS’ adoption of LiA in 2013 could not have been more organisationally challenging, when GCS separated from Gloucestershire PCT in 2012 to become a standalone provider Trust following a series of earlier legacy mergers amongst the West Gloucestershire, Cheltenham & Tewkesbury and Cotswold PCTs from 2002-2006. A new organisation was created from the commissioning ‘parent’, inheriting a largely dispersed, remote-working staff group, covering a huge geographic area serving a population with wide and varied health needs. No problems there then!
Since the beginning of their LiA Journey in 2013, GCS has seen a marked change in all leading indicators of its organisational ‘health’: its National Staff Survey results, the LiA Pulse Check results – which rate how valued, engaged, empowered, and committed staff feel – and their LiA Leadership Scorecard (the latter of which indicates a senior management team’s confidence in their own ability to lead change and role-model behaviours that encourage staff to contribute to positive change).
Most recently, GCS ‘put their money where their mouths are’ on this self-inspection and development when Paul Jennings and the Trust Chair, Ingrid Barker invested in an LiA Board Development Day and an LiA Coaches' Day. Whilst the latter was geared towards training 30 key members of staff to lead their next LiA focus areas around improving the quality and safety of care across the county, it was the Board day that proved seminal for the sustainability of LiA at GCS. It addressed head-on, one of the greatest challenges staff say exists in all NHS organisations: the lack of visibility, leadership and ownership of new ways of working from the senior Executives in the NHS; in a way that connects with staff and gives them confidence they can make a difference to patient care, supported by their bosses to do the right thing. The day resulted in all Board members committing to change 'one thing within my gift’ that will make a difference to staff and unblock their way. They also committed to supporting two LiA teams each as their ‘link Board member’, taking a proactive interest in the work each team are doing and helping them to deliver their patient-centric targets and goals.
On a patient-front, the Trust has a plethora of success stories highlighting the impact LiA has had for their service users and patients, most notably:
• The development of a film emphasising the gold standard for End of Life Care where amazing staff at the Trust share the privilege they feel in helping their patients in their greatest hour of need
• ‘Making Every Contact Count’ team, helping patients to make healthy lifestyle choices to tackle the growing national challenges around the impact lifestyle choices have on patients, their families and the pressure on the service itself
• The promotion of Sexual Health Services in an extremely clever and witty festive film, helping to reach out and publicise the service to a patient group that is often hard to reach out to (with a corresponding increase in clinic attendance and understanding of what the service offers) – this was part of Gloucestershire’s ‘Loud and Proud’ LiA work to ‘put GCS on the map’ and shout about its successes
• ‘Champions for Carers’ team, supporting carers in the community and hospital sites to look after themselves and their own well-being
• Complex Care for Children at Home pathway improvements, making things ‘normal’ for kids in their own homes in spite of their conditions and treatment
• Bringing the Trust’s CORE values to life, for staff and patients
• Locking LiA into all key quality and safety priorities across the Trust.
The success GCS has had shows no signs of abating. As we write, GCS is leading the way in exploring how they lead county-wide collaboration across all provider organisations with its mental health and acute sector peer groups. The holy grail of healthcare in the UK is the development of end-to-end patient pathways, co-designed and developed with - and for - patients, service users and the NHS staff who work in these pathways.
As the reins change hands at GCS at the end of the calendar year, with Paul’s replacement, Katie Norton, committed to maintaining the Trust’s commitment to engaging and empowering staff, the transition happens with the richly deserved accolade as the first community services Trust in the country to attain the LiA Kite Mark for its commitment to putting staff at the centre of change and improvement.
GCS has the right to use the LiA Kite Mark for 2017 on all Trust literature and materials throughout next year, and is the third Trust in the country to have reached this level. Congratulations to Paul, all of his team – including his two LiA Leads, formerly Claire Powell and, currently, Sonia Pearcey – and all of the great staff at GCS who are making things better every day for patients, their colleagues, and their Trust.
For more on LiA and how to get accredited, please contact Gordon Forbes at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07734 812311.