The Scalpel's Blog

12.07.18

An enormous opportunity to reconnect with staff awaits the new health secretary

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resources Management,’ published by Oxford University Press, outlines three quick wins that are at the disposal of the new secretary of state.

Matt Hancock, the new secretary of state for health and social care, takes up his post at a critical time for health and social care.

New NHS funding investment has been announced along with the need to develop a 10-year plan to prioritise how the funding will best be utilised. He is also fortunate to have arrived at the time when a multiyear pay deal has been agreed with many NHS trade unions. He seems to have a keen interest and some experience in digital technology. The role of secretary of state no doubt requires a long-term strategic focus that appreciates that there is no sustainable NHS solution without a recognition and a plan to better align health and social care, to ensure patients are supported and cared for in the most appropriate setting. This has to be the focus of a new 10-year plan.

However, I believe there are three quick wins he can make.

  1. Detoxify the relationship of the Department of Health and Social Care with NHS staff. The departure of Jeremy Hunt after so long in post, the end of the junior doctor dispute and pay settlement for Agenda for Change staff means he can move on and create a new narrative – one that recognises the value of staff and trade unions in delivering high-quality care. He can be the champion of staff and of effective NHS leadership, meet with trade unions and engage with them in developing a shared narrative for the future that recognises the need to invest in training & development and education. Despite popular belief, I am sure an olive leaf to trade unions would be received generously and constructively;
  1. Recognise the huge potential in support staff in increasing workforce supply and delivering more efficient services. With his background and understanding of the skills agenda and apprenticeships, he can rapidly increase the NHS skills base, improve the skills escalator and recognise the inherent talent in this part of the workforce. When he was minister for skills, he spoke at the launch of the National Skills Academy for Health where the academy’s commitment to the support workforce skills development was underlined. Many of our support staff have the potential to do so much more. They are just as bright, just as clever and just as committed to high-quality care as registered staff. They just haven’t all had the same equality of opportunity to develop. In my view, support staff are the title deeds to improving workforce supply and productivity. Include them in all decisions and appreciate the diversity of their experience;
  1. Use digital technology to reconnect and engage staff. A truly effective NHS 10-year plan will have plenty of patient involvement, but delivering an ambitious programme will require the goodwill of staff. Focus groups and personal letters to get staff involved have their place, but for the first time digital technology, crowdsourcing and social media will allow hundreds of thousands of staff to know they have contributed to something where their views count and their voices are heard – and a new plan is something that will have been done with them, not to

This is a prime opportunity to use technology to build new relationships of respect and support, and to create a sustainable future through involving and appreciating all NHS staff.

Top image c. Victoria Jones, PA Wire

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

‘Standing at a crossroads’: Health chief warns future of NHS integration risks being monopolised

15/11/2018‘Standing at a crossroads’: Health chief warns future of NHS integration risks being monopolised

Addressing delegates as his organisation’s summit, the chief executive of NHS Partners Network David Hare has warned today that “it&r... more >
Capita must be stripped of ‘shambolic’ national contract after failing to send over 48,000 letters

15/11/2018Capita must be stripped of ‘shambolic’ national contract after failing to send over 48,000 letters

The BMA has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens expressing “extreme concern” over Capita after being made aware that... more >
Workforce shortages now a bigger threat to the NHS than funding

15/11/2018Workforce shortages now a bigger threat to the NHS than funding

The health service’s staffing challenges have become so stark that they now present a bigger threat to the future of the NHS than cuts to f... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond doubt or dispute, other than in government, that the NHS is inadequately funded. Even the secretary of state has argued that it will need more mon... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

More men please!

14/11/2018More men please!

Kirstie Stott, director of the Inspiring Leaders Network, flips the gender balance debate on its head and asks: why aren’t there more male nurses? As an advocate for gender equality, I was recently struck by the NHS Provider Board report from NHS Improvement, which is an interesting but not surprising read. As someone who stron... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >
332 304x150 NHE Callout banner.

comment

Data: the oil of the digital age

07/11/2018Data: the oil of the digital age

Adam Steventon, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, reviews the government’s digital and data vision for the NHS. Dig... more >
The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

10/10/2018The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

Jo Gander, director of the Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA) team, talks about their role as part of the new NHS Supply Chain. NHS Suppl... more >
Recoup and recover

10/10/2018Recoup and recover

The ease and round-the-clock nature of making cashless payments has transformed the way we pay for goods and services – and, from now on, t... more >
A push for digital in mental health

10/10/2018A push for digital in mental health

Sean Duggan, chief executive of NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, argues that mental health services could hugely benefit from dig... more >

health service focus

View all News

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >