When I worked in the NHS one of the things that you noticed is that people know the sector. On one hand this is a real asset. At the same time there is a danger that it can actually be a limiting constraint.
When it comes to recruiting for non clinical roles for example, there is a danger that you end up in a situation where people all have the same skill set and lack breadth.
Of course it is important to understand and have empathy with the ethos of the NHS and the particular challenges it faces with unknown levels of demand.
Yet at present we are in a situation where the NHS is facing what some refer to as unprecedented challenges. While the headline figures might suggest that the level of resources are being maintained the reality is that resources are reducing.
While this might not be new to those who have been in the service for a long time, for others this will be the first time they have experienced a recession and even worse significant spending cuts.
It can be easy to take the view that the NHS is very different and so what applies to other sectors or industries does not apply to the NHS. Yet how true is this really.
Think about it. If you are a provider who is funded through payment by results, the level of income you generate is linked to the work you do. Additionally the level of work that you can do and income that you generate is influenced by the effectiveness of your processes, particularly around patient throughput and length of stay. This is no different from any other organisation.
Patient experience and perceptions of those who use the service is determined by how people are dealt with, not just by clinical but also non clinical staff. Basically good customer service and there are obviously many good (and not so good) examples from other sectors.
Whilst it is important to retain the ethos of NHS and focus on patient safety and care, there are many potential opportunities for leaders to learn from other sectors.
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