We are the leading independent membership organisation for managers and leaders commissioning, delivering and supporting health and care in the UK and across the world, supporting personal and professional development and driving change to improve health and well-being for all through quality management.
Our mission here at the IHM is to work with you to identify and provide the resources, support and opportunities you need to be your best selves, connecting with other membership organisations and professional bodies to enable us all to get the very best out of our collective expertise and resources.
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THIS WEEK’S EDITORIAL
Plenty of IHM members tuned in to Monday evening’s webinar with the brilliant Anita Charlesworth from the Health Foundation who presented, in 25 minutes, the most eye opening set of slides that I can recall seeing on the subject of NHS Finance. The scale of the challenge facing politicians of any political hue was laid bare, as was the depth and severity of the crisis (and it is) in respect of staffing.
We are told by the Department of Health that there are currently 40,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS but, as my esteemed colleague Roy Lilley has pointed out, the methodology for working this out is questionable at best. It transpires that the methodology relies on counting the number of nurse job vacancies on the NHS jobs website – so if you need 5 nurses and place one advert, it counts in the official figures as 1 vacancy. Hmmm…
Just for the moment, however, park the issue of vacancy numbers and consider instead the NHS and Social Care’s ability to recruit, retain and sustain nurses and doctors across the nation. Figures from the OECD (2019) show that the UK is lagging well behind other marker countries when it comes to training graduate nurses, with a figure of 30 per 1,000 population versus 55 for Germany, 63 for the United States and 85 for Australia. We all know how long it takes 3 years for a nurse to gain a degree, and then there are the years of accumulating experience so that they are genuinely confident to be released, unsupervised, onto a ward, health centre, district or community. For a Doctor, there’s a 5 year degree, 2 year post grad foundation and 3-8 years for specialist training.
In short, whatever your political persuasion or voting intention, money pledged to the NHS and social care is only part of a long term solution. If we don’t have the trained staff then how can anybody, for example, make promises about community care provision within the next Parliament?
And you, the manager, are typically at the sharp end of patient, clinical and political impatience when cancellations, delays, and wait lists build up.
What’s happened has happened and there seems precious little merit in raking over who has been responsible for the current situation. This has been an issue years in the making. Question is, what can we do?
The best managers set the environment for good people to achieve great things, so I’d suggest we start with the notion that we can only control the controllable. How do we make our working environment attractive and supportive for all staff? What measures might we introduce to enable and support lapsed nurses to re-enter the service? How do we tackle childcare? Education? Peer support? Flexible work rotas? Remote working & communications? Travel to and from work? We need open minds, absolute determination to improve and a steely will to succeed. Make some waves! Create some ideas and plans! Take the helm!
Please don’t wait for the money, of any political colour, to flow through and magically deliver the kind of recruitment results we need. That would be a fantasy.
The Institute of Healthcare Management has partnership agreements with the following membership organisations:
It is the mutual aim of the Institute and each partner membership organisation to promote and support excellence in healthcare and by working together we can achieve more and therefore make greater progress.
Where opportunities arise, the IHM and each of the above organisations have agreed to work together to share access to activities and resources which support our members and their professional communities. This will, for example, include:
- Events, workshops & conferences
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- Networking events for the purpose of learning & understanding
The partnership agreements recognise the independence of each organisation and seek to create an environment of working together to achieve better health and social care.
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