The Scalpel's Blog

16.04.19

Our Health Heroes

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses the upcoming Our Health Heroes Awards.

There are many metaphors to describe staff working in healthcare. Junior doctors have been described as the ‘backbone’ of the NHS, nurses are often referred to as ‘angels’, general practitioners as the ‘bedrock’ of the NHS… and I could go on.

These positive descriptions of staff working in the NHS are clearly indicative of an institution that is so important to the lives of so many people in the UK. The NHS itself is often described as a national treasure and, in my view, rightly so! These positive references don’t blind us to the failings in the system and the times when care goes wrong, but they do remind us just how often the NHS gets it right when it comes to the care and treatment of patients. No easy task when so many people will access the NHS at times of worry, fear and anxiety. It is why care and compassion are so important in maintaining and sustaining the reputation of the NHS as such a well-loved institution and national treasure.

Although many use the nomenclature of doctors and nurses as shorthand for staff working in the NHS, the NHS actually employs around 1.5 million staff, working in just about every occupational group you’ll find in the wider community. So, in addition to doctors and nurses, the NHS employs plumbers and porters, scientists and speech therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists, and, because I’ve run out of alliterative examples, engineers, carpenters, administrative staff, managers, occupational therapists, cleaners, secretaries, playworkers, nursery nurses, dentists, human resource officers, payroll clerks, gardeners and … well, you get the point.

It is clear to anyone working in the NHS the reason it does so well when care and compassion are what matters most is down to effective team work. The experience of compassion and care doesn’t just come from doctors and nurses, but from the whole healthcare team. From the receptionists that smile warmly when people arrive, to the ward clerk that takes personal details, to the cleaners that say ‘hello’ and ‘good morning’ helping to put people at ease, to the healthcare assistant who delivers personal and dignified care, to the reassurance of the nurse in charge and opinion and the advice of the doctor – it all contributes significantly to the experience of great care that millions of people every week receive from the NHS.

The Our Health Heroes awards, organised by Skills for Health, is a fantastic opportunity to recognise those in that wider healthcare team that go the extra mile to make that experience of care so personal and so important. You can’t incentivise staff to deliver amazing care, you can’t put compassion in a job description and just expect it to happen. It is a display of the core values so evident in the NHS

We are truly fortunate to have so many staff in the NHS that have the core values needed and the sense of vocation that comes from really making a difference to people’s lives.

Metaphors like ‘angels’ and ‘backbone’ and ‘bedrock’ have their place, but ‘heroes’ is a word that can be applied to so many of our staff, often working in those under-appreciated roles of support workers.

If you are working in the NHS or use its services, do look around for those everyday heroes and take just a few moments to nominate them.

Visit: skillsforhealth.org.uk/ohh 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Pharmaceutical firms accused of illegally colluding to drive up drug prices, ‘costing the NHS millions’

24/05/2019Pharmaceutical firms accused of illegally colluding to drive up drug prices, ‘costing the NHS millions’

Four pharmaceutical firms have been accused of illegally colluding to restrict the supply of an anti-nausea tablet, drastically driving up prices... more >
Trust apologises for heart surgeon’s exclusion amidst a ‘toxic’ row inside a ‘feuding’ cardiac unit

24/05/2019Trust apologises for heart surgeon’s exclusion amidst a ‘toxic’ row inside a ‘feuding’ cardiac unit

The scandal-hit St George’s University Hospitals NHS FT has apologised for wrongly suspending a senior heart surgeon and admitted that a fr... more >
County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

24/05/2019County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

Hertfordshire and West Essex STP has announced a job-share partnership between the local county council and CCG to lead the STP. Iain MacBea... 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

The introduction of state indemnity and the continued importance of MDO membership

22/05/2019The introduction of state indemnity and the continued importance of MDO membership

Dr Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services at the Medical Defence Union (MDU), explains why medical defence organisation (MDO) membership remains important following the introduction of state indemnity. On 1 April 2019, state indemnity for NHS contracted primary care work was introduced in England and Wales. Following this, the MDU surv... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >
332 304x150 NHE Callout banner.

comment

Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on environmental issues, argues that the NHS needs a national strategy for a... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHFT), demonstrates how cultural change has im... more >
How the new nursing associate role will break new ground

10/04/2019How the new nursing associate role will break new ground

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, introduces us to the new nursing associate role, and how it’s set to complement the NHS L... more >
A smarter approach to tackling AMR

10/04/2019A smarter approach to tackling AMR

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is estimated to cause 700,000 deaths each year globally. This could rise to 10 million by 2050 if we do nothing. B... 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 >