Following on from my previous post on the Francis report...
What are the key elements of the Francis report? Care and compassion of course but what stops experienced medical staff caring? Demotivated, dis-empowered and feeling unloved by their own senior management perhaps? In failing healthcare establishments the staff on the shop floor are not listened to and they are anything but encouraged to report unsafe practice and dangerous practice.
When aberrant behaviour goes unsanctioned and is effectively tolerated the effect permeates the whole culture. It becomes one of not caring about poor performance, non-adherence to safe working practice and inappropriate behaviour. It is corrosive and standards slip away.
Today I have been to a private hospital where the long arm of the CQC has recently been felt. The bosses are worried about potential legal action, but that is hardly the point. Care for patients who place their trust in healthcare professionals is what it is all about not the legal threat. It should be accepted that best possible safe care practice is the only way. What could possibly be argued against?
So I hear of senior clinicians who adopt slack practice that they admit would not be accepted in their NHS Trust. They shout, rant, rage, act like children if not allowed to run 'their' operative list in their preferred order without argument. They also act, dare I say it, like tenage lads - egging each other on to see how far they can stretch things. Actually I experience this in NHS hospitals as well, from people who preach professionalism but don't walk the talk and furthermore have no intention of doing so.
What is so utterly amazing is that they think that no-one in their teams notices. Yet as an outsider when I visit everyone knows who the awkward so-and-so's are. Guys - it is no secret, everyone knows who you are. It is not too late to change, just try asking the people you work with for some honest feedback.
Here is how to do it, referring ideally to behaviour not technical performance:
- Tell me one thing I do well
- Tell me one thing I should do more of
- Tell me one thing I should do less of
If the only answers you get back are technical and not non-technical, perhaps this might be a message.