Save the patient!

Tue 23rd January, 2018
With regard to the NHS workforce crisis, it’s clear that we’re in ‘Save the Patient’ territory now. Only, the patient here is, in fact, NHS staff. Take care of our staff and they will take care of our patients – no argument there. But without a wholesale shift from the NHS to looking after our frontline colleagues, prioritising their needs and well-being, we can’t expect them to look after patients the way they, and we, would like

Is there a workforce and staffing crisis in the NHS? Here’s the evidence. For the defense (the ‘no there’s not’ bridgade at Richmond House and around the corridors of power), here’s the latest from the DH: “A Department of Health spokeswoman said: ‘The truth is that latest NHS Digital figures show there are over 32,300 more professionally qualified clinical staff working in the NHS since 2010 

By any reasonable measure, it is abundantly clear that our frontline NHS is in crisis. Forget the tabloid headlines screaming as much. Forget too, the more reasoned and balanced view of the challenges facing the NHS as the spectre of ‘winter-pressure’ rears its head as the weather turns colder and the mood greyer.  

The national Listening into Action (LiA) team has developed a new way for NHS Trust CEOs to 'self-assess' the safety and effectiveness of their Trust. Using the existing Listening into Action (LiA) Pulse Check responses from staff – over 250,000 staff have responded to the Pulse Check in the last 4 years – the team can now determine how your staff feel around the five Care Quality Commission domains 

‘Nobody ever listens to what we want and need in order to deliver high quality, safe patient care’ is a common refrain we hear from thousands of NHS staff whose Trust CEOs have had the courage to embark on Listening into Action (LiA) in the past 3 years. In total, 53 Trusts have adopted this new way of working since March 2012, impacting thousands of teams, hundreds of thousands of NHS staff, and millions of patients.

Eight years ago, the NHS Executive and the Department of Health recognised a number of important truths about our healthcare system in the UK. Eight years on, it is worth checking in on how things stand. Have the aspirations to transform the Service, re-engage and re-empower frontline staff, and free them up from interference from above worked? And where do we go next?

The NHS remains challenged to empower staff to manage demands to pursue quality care. Despite continual initiatives to improve matters, much still needs to be done. Gordon Forbes explains the pitfalls of counter intuitive staff engagement schemes. Only 13 per cent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s 2013 study of 142 countries, State of the Global Workplace.  

Nichola Durrant is the LiA Lead Co-ordinator for Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. They started out as an LiA National Pioneer Trust in January, and Nichola reflects here on the importance of getting the 'First 100' influencers on board and sharing ownership right from the outset.

The LiA Lead Coordinator is a very special role for a rising star in the organisation. Working directly to the Chief Executive, they coordinate, coach, cajole and support colleagues at all levels and in all roles to understand and buy into the LiA way of working. The LiA Lead Coordinator typically has a clinical background, and is tenacious, passionate and unwilling to let obstacles (of which there are many!) get in their way.

Not for the faint-hearted!

Tue 3rd December, 2013
Adopting the LiA way of working is not easy, it is not for the faint-hearted, and it can be difficult to persuade staff at all levels that this is not just ‘another initiative’ which arrives with a bang and then fizzles out.   The Chief Executive is the main sponsor of LiA in any Trust, and it is important that their role is not just as a symbolic figurehead.

Staff at Medway NHS Trust have recently embarked upon Year 2 of their LiA Journey. In this video, introduced by Chief Executive Mark Devlin, frontline staff from around the Trust talk about their experiences during the first 12 months.

The Listening into Action (LiA) Pulse Check has received over 70,000 responses from NHS staff in over 30 Trusts since May 2012. How they feel provides leaders – both locally and nationally – with food for thought.

Viewpoint - John Adler at UHL

Thu 24th October, 2013
In any LiA Trust it is the Chief Executive who performs the role of the main sponsor. Their leadership of LiA, with clinical leaders alongside them, galvanises and empowers front line staff to make changes, and unblock the way in order to improve patient outcomes. John Adler is the Chief Executive of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. He has led the LiA way of working in not one, but two, Trusts.