Poor working cultures within the NHS have been shown to increase patient harm. A poor working culture is not a safe working culture, and staff can become disengaged in a situation where they should be empowered to drive NHS services forward. So how can we begin to turn the tide in creating positive NHS working cultures?
1. Make caring and compassion the core values and behaviours of your NHS organisation. Make sure that these values extend beyond the interactions between staff and patients. These values should also become how staff interact with each other.
2. Engage staff by giving them a clear direction, good support, offering strong leadership and treating them fairly and supportively. Trusts with higher levels of staff engagement deliver services of higher quality and perform better financially, as rated by the Care Quality Commission. They have higher patient satisfaction scores and lower staff absenteeism. They have consistently lower patient mortality rates than other trusts.
3.Value the contributions your staff and team members make. Say thank you... give them a 'pat on the back' once in a while. Make them feel a part of the team.. part of the organisational family. This will encourage more good work and a culture of mutual respect.
4. Foster a culture of security and trust, where staff feel able to innovate, grow, test new ideas and learn from failures.
5. Promote a healthy, safe work environment, where staff are encouraged to value their own health and the health of their colleagues. Healthy Staff are more engaged, more productive and safer. A healthy workforce is an essential part of creating positive cultures.
Dixon-Woods M, Baker R, Charles K, Dawson J, Jerzembek G, Martin G, McCarthy I, McKee L, Minion J, Ozieranski P, Willars J, Wilkie P and West M (2013), ‘Culture and behaviour in the English National Health Service: overview of lessons from a large multimethod study’ BMJ Quality & Safety 23(2):106-115.