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06.01.17

Engagement between Welsh doctors and NHS managers inconsistent

NHS employers in Wales have vowed to improve their level of engagement with their medical workforce after a survey revealed a mixed picture across the country.

For the first time, doctors from the Welsh BMA were invited to take part in the Welsh NHS Confederation’s national Medical Engagement Scale Survey, which measures the level of engagement across the health service.

The results showed that interaction is still inconsistent with medical participation good in some areas and in need of significant improvement in others, leading both NHS organisations and BMA Cymru Wales to support the NHS Wales Core Principles by working together in the future.

Vanessa Young, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said: “Speaking on behalf of NHS organisations in Wales, our commitment to strong medical engagement is clear.

“The Medical Engagement Scale has helped us to identify where improvement is needed and we welcome the support of BMA Cymru Wales to work with us on tackling lower levels of engagement with doctors across the service.”

Research has regularly shown that improved managerial engagement with medical staff leads to better healthcare outcomes for patients and communities. 

For this reason improving medical engagement is seen as a priority for the NHS in Wales, with NHS organisations planning to work closely with BMA Cymru Wales to develop strategies for improving engagement over the next three years.

Dr Phil Banfield, chair of the BMA Welsh Council, said that the results of the Medical Engagement Scale did not come as a surprise to its members, with many of the concerns raised by the scale brought to their attention before.

“We welcome the commitment to improve engagement with the medical workforce, and expect that by the time the Medical Engagement Scale exercise is repeated in three years’ time, there will be a measurable change in the culture of the NHS in Wales, one that is able to report a valued and engaged workforce which is better for patients and that makes Wales an attractive place to train, work and live for doctors,” added Dr Banfield.

The two organisations will now work together to develop engagement improvement strategies before the Medical Engagement Scale will be repeated in 2020. The parties plan to publish reports on their progress on an annual basis.

A report by the Nuffield Trust in December last year revealed that hospital managers and senior doctors believe that they are working together better than ever before but tensions have raised due to the NHS’s recent financial pressures.

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