With the Government, Monitor and many others stating that the economic outlook for the coming years is going to be challenging, leaders in NHS bodies have some tough times ahead.
In the busy and demanding environment that most NHS organisations work in, it is sometimes difficult to stand back and take the time to consider the way forward. At the same time it is vital that leaders in NHS organisations take the time to do this.
So what are some of the key questions NHS organisations must ask?
What Are We Here To Do?
Everyone knows that the answer is to provide the best possible services that they can for patients. At the same time when things get tough and challenging it is really easy to forget this and focus all the attention on targets or the latest initiative. Having your core purpose defined in simple terms can help regain focus.
What Resources Do We Have At Our Disposal?
Having had a number of years where funding increased year on year, the tidies changing. This obviously necessitates a good hard look across health economies in terms of financial resources. We all know however that resources are much more than money and include facilities, equipment and people.
How Do We Make The Best Use of Resources At Our Disposal?
If demand is increasing and financial resources reducing, it becomes a question of determining how to make best use of resources available. Simple question to ask and a really difficult one to answer. There are going to be many different views and time needs to be taken to collect those views.
What Do We Do Well That Must Continue?
While it is the things that go wrong that attract the attention, the reality is those things that go well far outweigh those times when things don’t go to plan. In every NHS organisation there are going to great things going on. The challenge is to identify and recognise these areas.
What Can We Improve?
In any organisation there are going to be things that can be improved. The challenge is not to be too overly ambitious and end up with initiative overload.
How Can We Get The Engagement Of Our Staff?
The NHS is still a very labour intensive organisation and therefore the support of staff is vital to achievement. There are so many highly skilled and highly talented professionals. At the same time staff engagement surveys show a wide variation between the most and least successful in this area.
How Can We Get The Engagement Of The Professional Bodies?
The various Royal Colleges still have huge influence and making change will require their support.
How Can We Get The Engagement Of The Public?
This is a real tough one. Most of the time people just go along with things. On the other hand mention any closure of facility, particularly a hospital and you will often see people coming out in force to oppose.
How Do We Get More Collaborative Working Between Different Parts of The Healthcare System?
In England we have a split between buying (commissioning) of services and provision of healthcare. On the ground it is the same patient accessing the service and in reality requires collaborative working. If one part of the system is not working it has a knock on effect elsewhere.
How Can We Get Greater Collaboration Within Our Own Organisation?
Even within individual organisations there can be huge amounts of silo working within specialties or functions.
The Bottom Line: Challenging times are going to be the norm in the short to medium term and how leaders and leadership teams respond can make a significant difference.
Goals and Achievements help healthcare organisations achieve better performance through people. Learn more about our services here.