By Hilary Rowell, Director
This evening the inimitable Jocelyn Cornwell formally launches a new independent charity, The Point of Care Foundation, with the help of a report created by us at ZPB. Staff Care: how to engage staff in the NHS and why it matters puts the case for the NHS to do a better job of caring for and supporting its own staff. Not just because it’s a nice thing to do, but because the case is so strong on grounds of the quality of patient care and NHS outcomes and efficiency.
It’s been a really good challenge for us. The first challenge was negotiating a plain English path through a jargon-filled minefield – from staff engagement to staff experience to empowerment and values-based management. You can judge for yourselves how we did.
The second challenge was creating something new and interesting in a well-trodden field. It turns out that there are reams of solid research studies, dating back a decade and more, that make the case. The fact is that there are strong links between having staff who feel positive about their jobs and the organisation for whom they work and a host of important indicators from mortality rates and infection rates to measures of patient experience, not to mention the costs of stress, high turnover rates and sickness absence. The NHS started measuring ‘staff engagement’ in 2009 but unfortunately that measure isn’t showing spectacular progress. The point of this report, however, is not to beat the NHS over the head on yet another ‘failing’ – but to offer inspiration and constructive ideas.
So we decided to give people an ‘at a glance’ reminder of all the evidence (a good design challenge, met by our design partners at dtc). Then we found, not least through our stellar advisory group, some great case studies of organisations who are demonstrably going beyond the standard rhetoric of ‘our staff are our greatest asset’. In rounding up the evidence and advice on ‘how to do staff engagement’, the positive message is that a lot of what works is not that complicated and doesn’t have to involve huge investment of time and resources.
The final challenge starts now – seeing the report prompt debate, raise the profile of The Point of Care Foundation and provoke action in the NHS.