On 1st July 2022 NHS England and NHS Improvement merged to provide unified leadership within the NHS. This is taking another step forward, as from April 2023 NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital are forming into a new organisation ‘To lead the NHS in England to deliver high-quality services for all’.
“Our mandate from government sets out three key missions over the course of 2022/23: the continued COVID-19 response, recovery of the health system, and driving forward the transformation of services that will improve health and care outcomes.”
With this mission in mind, NHS England have released their 22/23 business plan with 10 key commitments:
Support the NHS to attract and retain more people, working differently in a compassionate and inclusive culture.
Continue to lead the NHS in responding to COVID-19 ever more effectively.
Deliver more elective care to tackle the elective backlog, reduce long waits and improve performance against cancer waiting times standards.
Improve the responsiveness of urgent and emergency care and increase its capacity.
Improve access to primary care.
Improve mental health services and services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people.
Deliver improvements in maternity care.
Prevent ill health and tackle health inequalities.
Drive the integration of care and enable change.
Improve productivity and reduce variation across the health system
As NHS England say themselves, it’s an ambitious programme, but it’s down to everyone involved to do their part in implementing it to ensure success. Based on experiences, here’s 3 tips from Spacestor Healthcare to help achieve the above commitments.
1. Focus on staff wellbeing
Staff are the backbone to the success of the NHS as without them it wouldn’t be possible. Therefore, staff wellbeing is key to the success of 10 commitments outlined by the NHS. From our experience, consultant and clinician workflow is increased when they feel safe, happy and well looked after. When it comes to retaining talent, it means building a culture that aligns with staff personal values; many of which have been tested and renewed during the pandemic and the many social issues raised in its duration. A culture of diversity and inclusion, sustainability and positive representation are key to attracting staff. Staff retention is vital to any organisations long term success. All over the world business and non-profits are striving to create a culture where employees feel trusted and empowered to do their best work, supported to put forward their most innovative and creative ideas, and passionate about the mission of the organisation.
Understanding motivation is one aspect to help in the retention of staff. Maslow’s theory presents the idea that everyone has a “hierarchy of needs” which can be represented as a pyramid. With the base being the most fundamental needs for life; survival needs. And the top represents the individuals ability to achieve their full potential. Maslow’s theory suggests that the more fundamental needs that feature lower down must be fulfilled before an individual can climb the pyramid and focus on satisfying his or her higher level needs.
We also know that autonomy and flexibility has a great impact on staff. For most people, this means a hybrid work pattern that allows them to pick their working schedule. A motivating workspace will allow for this entirely by offering great design choice and by allowing potential and current employees a completely bespoke work experience, where they can change their routine and environment to match their mood and tasks. Many employees are specially motivated to come into the office because of the social interactions and collaboration opportunities an office environment fosters, creating an environment that encourages and enhances these social opportunities is key.
To dig deeper into this topic, we are having a live panel discussion with Mel Jacobson Cox from HLM Architects and Robert Etchell form Llewelyn Davies, titled; ‘Transforming Healthcare with Design: Putting Staff Wellbeing at the Centre’. Register to join this webinar here.
2. Focus on digital transformation
Some of the many benefits that digital technology provides include improved workflows, more efficient use of clinical time and greater ease of access. Use of remote consultations, virtual wards, artificial intelligence enabled devices, and blockchain electronic records are just a few examples of the digital transformation that is reshaping how data is shared and care optimised.
As the National Audit Office for Digital transformation in the NHS point out, digital innovation can be a huge challenge. For many practitioners embracing digital technology can feel overwhelming, resulting in a reluctance to engage with the change process. It requires a willingness to let go of outdated processes and adopt digital for good. There’s no doubt the future of healthcare lies in the world of digital, it’s down to us how quickly we adopt it.
One example of this is virtual consultations, there are many benefits, but the main goal is to tackle the waiting list backlog through the increased efficiencies. However, there are many challenges with this new method that need tackling to ensure clinicians adopt them as normal. Check out our article on the 6 Challenges of Virtual Consultancy and How to Overcome Them to find out more.
3. Focus on community integration
As set out in the plans for Integrated Care Systems, there is a need to focus on moving care away from hospitals and into the community, digital-first primary care is destined to become a new option for every patient providing fast access to convenient healthcare. There are currently approximately 307 million patient consultations at GP surgeries each year. For many surgeries this represents an unsustainable workload and, in an attempt to improve workflows many GPs and primary care services are now offering online consultations.
Along with Community Diagnostic Centres and other schemes, implementing virtual consultation access within public places is an exciting new concept to transform patient care. Consultation pods allow healthcare professionals to initiate a remote consultation quickly and easily on any internet-connected digital device, anywhere, anytime. Secure, soundproofed pods have been designed for easy installation and can easily be moved around to meet the needs of the local community. For patients, they offer the benefit of a completely private consultation no matter how busy the external space might be. Designed to be used in a wide variety of settings, the consultation pods can support remote consultations in a wide variety of public locations such as: schools and colleges, shopping malls, libraries, and leisure centers. This helps to tackle the rising concerns of digital inequality and digital poverty amongst patients.
Find out more about using remote consultation pods to transform community care by downloading our whitepaper here.