What are we already doing?
Titled ‘We Are the NHS’, the message of the plan resonates with our internal slogan ‘We Are One’. In all of the work we do, we understand the importance of feeling part of a shared vision, and a sense of belonging. Here we will reflect on what we are already doing within the NHS People Plan.
There is a real sense of pride that underpins the sentiment of the recently published NHS People Plan. The plan highlights how we must continue caring for one another and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging. It focuses on how to take action to grow our workforce, train our people, and work together differently to deliver patient care.
As a company, we are working hard to ensure that we are already delivering on, and working towards, the aims outlined in the People Plan. They are broken down as:
- Responding to new challenges and opportunities
- Looking after our people
- Belonging in the NHS
- New ways of working and delivering care
- Growing for the future
- Supporting our NHS people for the long-term
Responding to new challenges and opportunities
Historical challenges originally outlined as part of the Interim People Plan are still ongoing. These include: the health and wellbeing of our people; highlighting existing and deep-rooted inequalities; and flexible and remote working. However, these are only a few of the challenges identified as part of the plan.
The health and Wellbeing of our employees is incredibly important to us. We have introduced the OneWellness Community to help ensure all of our staff have access to physical and psychological support. Providing free access to a range of activities, the online Community has encouraged staff to engage with wellbeing initiatives, including our ’30 days of wellbeing’ programme which was championed by our HR team.
Led by our Chief Executive, we have established a company-wide campaign to improve equality and diversity. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on BAME communities and colleagues, serving to highlight existing and deep-rooted inequalities, helping to create a platform for change.
NHS colleagues have noted that flexible and remote working has had a positive impact on productivity. Our Central Support Team has shifted to a flexible policy of remote and office working, leading to a clearer harmony between work/life balance. This shift has since helped to reduce travel time, contributing to our environmental commitment to reducing our carbon footprint. Our OnePrimaryCare teams are also leading on virtual multi-disciplinary team meetings. In our next blog, which outlines what we intend to do, we will be looking at how flexible working across sites is possible.
Looking after our people
‘Our NHS People Promise’ was launched as part of the NHS People Plan. The rainbow of promises identifies different commitments to staff, and these are something we are committed to delivering to members of our Group.
In 2019 we launched our Wellbeing Strategy, which outlines our pledge to the wellbeing of our staff. Throughout COVID-19, supporting our workforce has been fundamental to ensuring we all feel safe, valued, and cared for. Our Wellbeing Strategy has been crucial in enabling us to appropriately support our employees, and ensure their physical and mental wellbeing has been one of our top priorities. As part of this we also launched our 2 day Health and Wellbeing retreat, underpinned by the 5 Ways to Wellbeing that allowed our staff the opportunity to focus on their own Health and Wellbeing and to really understand it.
The appointment of a Wellbeing Guardian for every NHS organisation is similar in practice to our Wellbeing Ambassadors. At all of our sites, we have a Wellbeing Ambassador in place to promote and champion good health for all.
Belonging in the NHS
It is paramount that we continue to have a culture that is understanding, kind and inclusive. The People Plan identifies that “the NHS was established on the principles of social justice and equity”.
Discussions around health and wellbeing are already taking place for members of our Flock. Our Appraisals, which are reviewed by line managers quarterly, include conversations around Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. This helps to facilitate a culture that is open and honest, encouraging staff to discuss their occupational and general wellbeing.
We ensure that staff feel part of decision making. Engagement with staff, in order to gather contributions that inform the decisions we make, are undertaken through staff surveys. This gives everyone the opportunity to make sure their opinion is heard, and that we share all learning.
Speaking up is important. We want all of our collegaues to feel confident enough to speak up, which is why we already have Freedom to Speak up Guardians in place.
New ways of working and delivering care
There is a focus within this plan on COVID-19 and the impact this has had on the way we work. We are committed to upskilling, expanding and developing capabilities in order to create more flexibility across our teams.
Linking to our aforementioned appraisals we have a career stepping stone pathway included as part of our document and discussion. This ensures that members of our teams are working in a role that is aligned to our vision as a company, and coincides with their desire to grow into a career they are passionate about.
Growing for the future
There is a focus on recruiting and retaining workforce, in recognition of the high profile public support afforded to the NHS following COVID-19. One priority of this is for system level workforce planning to become a priority. This is work that we have already been doing within Cheshire and Mersyeside. We have been supporting: first a Primary Care Network (PCNs) in Ellesmere Port, and then the system, in order to help develop and establish PCNs.
Supporting our NHS people for the long term
This is the beginning of our journey, and we are currently delivering and leading on several priorities identified above as part of the NHS People Plan. We are proud of the work we are doing, and we want to continue to be drivers of positive change. However, there is more that we could be doing. There are opportunities for change identified as part of the plan that we want to be a part of. This is something that we are currently exploring to ensure that we have a shared vision for the future, and a sense of belonging underpinned by our teams.