Our work with NHS
High-Quality Care for All
The NHS reached 60 years old in 2008, and that is its aspiration. And quite an aspiration it is. As one of the largest employers in the world, the NHS is always going to have a daunting task trying to achieve consistency and high standards and to realise its goals. Daunting, yes. Impossible? That's debatable, and here's our take on the debate. In the past few years, we have been increasingly asked by a number of NHS hospitals to provide a variety of soft skills training. In our experience, the workforce, from nurses to administrative staff, to surgeons, to senior executives is dedicated; there's no other word to describe the commitment they bring to their jobs. What a job! Think about it our health care rests in their hands and what happens more often than not, is that all these dedicated people receive brick-bats, not roses. No wonder there are times when they feel battered and trodden upon. People work long and often frustrating hours and regularly have to battle against lack of funding, ever-increasing government initiatives, and ever-changing targets (we're not saying initiatives and targets are wrong, it's just they add to an already burdensome workload). And of course, there are the headline-grabbing endemic problems of hospital infections, post-code lotteries, etc., etc., etc. As well as all the outstanding, positive services the NHS provides, it also continually faces challenges many of which we know can be attributed to poor communication, disparate needs and wants, clashing points of views, under-developed management skills and most importantly, juggling budgets and costs, belt-tightening and new demands. Functioning within the NHS, whatever the role nurse, consultant, administrator, manager, etc. is not easy and often is ridiculously hard. That is why when we are approached by individual hospitals, we are delighted to participate in the work because our area of expertise people communicating better with other people no matter who they are is often 'just what the doctor ordered'. Our first foray within this sector began with the Mayday NHS Trust University Hospital where we ran a Forum Theatre style event on motivation for 60 members of staff. That was back in 2005 and since then, we have worked for a number of trust hospitals running a variety of intensive and in-depth trainings. Impact Factory has worked with the Management Executive Team and The Trust Board at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Management Executive team at the Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, the Management Executive team at the West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at a crucial time in their history. Indeed, it does seem as though we are often approached by NHS hospitals at real turning points in their lives, when our brand of facilitation, motivation and ability to work with contrasting groups and get them talking and making agreements, can make all the difference. Not only that, we were very interested with the BBC series aired in 2007 - Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS? Much of what Gerry Robinson focused on was the need to change the prevailing culture at Rotherham General Hospital, but we know that Rotherham could stand in for many if not most of the hospital Trusts in Britain. Culture change is what's needed and yet that is often the hardest challenge of all: changing attitudes, died in the wool patterns of working and ways of thinking; trying out something that may be diametrically opposite to the way people have been doing things for years; unblocking communication log-jams. This list is endless and his task was certainly a daunting one. Why we were intrigued by his series was that so much of what he suggested is similar to our work around the way people communicate: he spotted instantly the dynamics that existed within the hospital and just getting people to talk and listen to each other was akin to asking them to climb Mt Everest. As within so many organisations, entrenched and intractable attitudes and beliefs always slow progress. Of course, we're sure many hospitals and the people who work within them will have cast a cynical eye on the series: he wasn't being realistic, he couldn't really know what they are going through, if he had to deal with the day to day, it wouldn't be so easy. All valid arguments, but usually arguments that help keep the status quo stuck. You have to start somewhere in order to initiate change, and if Gerry Robinson added to the debate, hats off to him! Well, we aren't Gerry Robinson and we don't go into NHS hospitals with camera crews for six months. Often our training takes place with one group within a hospital for one or two days, or even just for a few hours. But what a difference a day makes! Have a read of some of our NHS snacks to learn about the slightly more modest and yet hugely effective work we have done recently. If you'd like more information about our work in the NHS please contact +44 (0)20 7226 1877 or e-mail us at email@example.com
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