Women and leadership – (still) more to do

Despite the advances of recent years, two recent reports, Women in finance and Women on boards: 50:50 by 2020, once again draw attention to the problems women still face in obtaining senior leadership positions within the NHS and outside it | The King’s Fund

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Women in finance is about fairness, equality and inclusion for women and men. It is predicated on a desire for gender parity and a balanced workforce because, as the evidence makes clear, this improves culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity. However, the current situation in the financial services sector is quite different; more women than men start out in financial services but many women fail to move up the management scale. This leaves almost all the top jobs in the hands of men. The main reason for this, it appears, is organisational culture.

One study conducted in 2016 across a wide range of employment sectors found that unsupportive workplace cultures still present the most significant barrier to career progress for women. Amazingly this was the case for female respondents in the 20-29 age group as well as for older respondents. Gender inequality and discrimination were reported, as were difficult colleagues and managers, bullying, undervalued work, and women feeling that they have to over-perform simply because they are female. Recommendations following this study included building closer relationships between men and women in the workplace, and the provision of opportunities to discuss gender issues experienced within the organisational culture.

Jeremy Hunt outlines new government’s NHS priorities at #Confed17

After being introduced by Niall Dickson as ‘something of a survivor,’ Jeremy Hunt took to the stage on day two of Confed17 to give his thanks and praise to the NHS, its staff and its leaders, and to set out some of the new government’s priorities for the NHS | NHS Confederation

Thanking NHS leaders for ‘stepping up to the plate’ in what he described as one of the most difficult jobs in the world, Mr Hunt went on to thank NHS staff and stated that the support and welfare of staff is a central government priority. Other immediate priorities he highlighted are:

  • The status of EU nationals in health and care system.
  • Staff retention levels
  • Mental health support
  • Workforce shortages and gaps

Looking ahead for the next 12 months, the government’s priorities include:

  • Continuing progress to turn around performance
  • Achieving financial balance
  • Continued focus on transforming mental health
  • Continued focus on safety improvements

Read the full overview here

How much progress is the NHS making on workforce diversity?

Overturning decades of discrimination will not happen overnight but there have been small yet significant improvements | The Guardian Healthcare Network

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The NHS would grind to a standstill without the contribution of its black and minority ethnic (BME) staff. A fifth of nurses and midwives and a third of doctors are from BME backgrounds. Yet, by almost every measure, their treatment is poorer than that of their white colleagues. The latest report on the experience of these staff (pdf), drawn from nine workforce and staff survey metrics from all 236 trusts in England, makes sobering reading.

The more senior the pay grade, the less likely it will be filled by BME staff. Almost a quarter (24%) of nurses and midwives at entry grade 5 are from BME backgrounds, but this falls to 4% once senior management grades (8C and 8D) are reached.

Read the full news article here

Enabling Professionalism In Nursing And Midwifery Practice

This guide is aimed at all nurses and midwives and sets out what professionalism can look like in everyday practice | Nursing and Midwifery Council

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Image source: NMC

Professionalism means something to everyone who works as a nurse or midwife. Being an inspiring role model working in the best interests of people in your care, regardless of what position you hold and where you deliver care, is what really brings practice and behaviour together in harmony.  This guide demonstrates how applying the values of the code of conduct should be at the centre of all nursing and midwifery practice. For employers, it identifies key principles which will help them to provide practice environments that support and encourage professionalism among nurses and midwives.

New publications from the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network

The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has published two papers looking at the mental health workforce

The Future of the mental health workforce

The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has published The future of the mental health workforce.  This discussion paper presents data on the current picture of the mental health workforce and looks at emerging findings from research to identify the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the mental health workforce. A final report will be published later in 2017.

Mental health and integrated care

Also published is Mental health and community providers: lessons for integrated care.  This briefing looks at how mental health and community provider organisations are exploring the multi-speciality provider model and how it can drive the delivery of integrated mental and physical healthcare.  The briefing presents key points and lessons learned.

What does patient feedback reveal about the NHS?

Research finds that staff are likely to be evaluated both positively and negatively according to their interpersonal skills.

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Objective: To examine the key themes of positive and negative feedback in patients’ online feedback on NHS (National Health Service) services in England and to understand the specific issues within these themes and how they drive positive and negative evaluation.

Results: Overall, NHS services were evaluated positively approximately three times more often than negatively. The four key areas of focus were: treatment, communication, interpersonal skills and system/organisation. Treatment exhibited the highest proportion of positive evaluative comments (87%), followed by communication (77%), interpersonal skills (44%) and, finally, system/organisation (41%). Qualitative analysis revealed that reference to staff interpersonal skills featured prominently, even in comments relating to treatment and system/organisational issues. Positive feedback was elicited in cases of staff being caring, compassionate and knowing patients’’ names, while rudeness, apathy and not listening were frequent drivers of negative feedback.

Conclusions: Although technical competence constitutes an undoubtedly fundamental aspect of healthcare provision, staff members were much more likely to be evaluated both positively and negatively according to their interpersonal skills. Therefore, the findings reported in this study highlight the salience of such ‘soft’ skills to patients and emphasise the need for these to be focused upon and developed in staff training programmes, as well as ensuring that decisions around NHS funding do not result in demotivated and rushed staff. The findings also reveal a significant overlap between the four key themes in the ways that care is evaluated by patients.

Increasing demand on Ambulance service

The Nuffield Trust has published Nuffield Winter Insight: Briefing 3: The ambulance service.  This briefing looks at the growing pressures on the ambulance service including increasing demand for its services, targets and quality, ambulance diversions and staff morale.  It identifies three key issues the service needs to address: staffing, morale and management.