Winds of change are blowing across the NHS landscape as the NHS England allocated 1.9 billion pounds to clinical commissioning groups (CCG) that are tasked with providing emergency care, hospital care, community health services, mental health services and maternity care services to local people. By 2017/18, the transition to CCGs is expected to be complete. The revised NHS’ five-year forward view published in October proposes changes to primary and acute care systems that are expected to link up hospitals, communities and GPs locally. Besides, specialist care is proposed to be moved out of hospitals to the community and the elderly will enjoy better services in homes through joined up health care and rehabilitation services. The changes are structural and functional with a far reaching impact. Non-Clinical Staff Just As Important As Clinical Staff
Patients undergo treatment at clinics and their experience depends to a large extent on their care and treatment by primary health care providers, such as doctors and nurses. However, non-clinical staff, such as receptionists and managers also play a role in patient satisfaction. Since the new NHS meshes community with health care, managers also play a role in interfacing with local administrators. Non-clinical staff members have traditionally taken a back seat but not any more. The role of administrators and support staff in delivering a better experience to patients is receiving more attention, as they rightly should, since there are so many departments and they all need to coordinate matters in the background. Even Dean Royles, director of HR and OD at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation trust is of the opinion that non-clinical support staff members are vital to all services and should be included in the policy making decisions besides enjoying access to better training because they play a central role in patient care. Without such staff a doctor may not know his schedules. Administrators are coming around to the idea that training for non-clinical staff will directly help clinical staff perform better. Understanding Politics Of The NHS
NHS is linked with politics and managers who constitute non-clinical staff of NHS and may have to view matters not only from the perspective of patients and clinical staff but also from the perspective of local politicians. Minor matters become significant and significant matters are downplayed. It takes training and acumen to arrive at a better understanding of the politics of the NHS. With better training, non-clinical staff can resist or manage political pressures that could see money being spent unwisely. Managing Change In The NHS People at the top are realising the silent but worthwhile contributions of non-clinical staff to the functioning of NHS and to patient satisfaction. However, they still continue to be undervalued, and this lack of appreciation could possibly be a reason for some apathy and lack of motivation to perform better. Skills do matter and could do with improvement that can be achieved through professional in-house training or training by specialised third party NHS training agencies. A report finds that “only a quarter of admin and secretarial workers received training… and that only a low proportion of administrative and secretarial occupations are qualified at NQF level 4 and above.”
Realisation of the situation is a good starting point for change. Inducting more non-clinical staff members and training them as well as giving them career aspirations are the others. Training reinforces existing skills and adds new ones tailored to the specific environment of the NHS and its hierarchy. When it comes to training, the non-clinical staff could receive in-house training that is CPD accredited and gain points that will further their career. NHS health care training is available as leadership training programmes to train managers become effective leaders and training programs for people in other roles to help them become more committed and productive. The best course is one conducted by professionals with a clinical background, people who understand how NHS functions and the role of non-clinical staff in health care. NHS administrators may ask for such courses to be conducted on-premises, or interested individuals who wish to further their careers and enhance skills may opt for online courses that include personality development along with professional skill enhancement courses. The outcome is greater job satisfaction for non-clinical staff and a better patient experience.