NHS Trusts face further pressure

It's a tough time for the NHS and it looks as though it going to get tougher.

As winter approaches, CQC, Monitor and the NTDA find themselves with as many as 80% of hospital trusts in financial difficulties, some with services that need rapid improvement.

CQC have rightly stated that where there is good leadership, there is normally good quality of care. Yet some trusts have 75% + of their leadership teams as interims. It is difficult to create ownership when the managers are temporary and little investment has been put into making them effective leaders...

With winter approaching, and junior doctors unhappy with a new pay deal, it's going to be a tough winter... For those of us who regularly work within Trusts that need support, it is frustrating to see how little investment is made in creating and developing real leaders within each Trust. Real leaders use a coaching style of leadership, combining support and guidance with setting a clear vision, agreed common values, achievable aims and clear objectives. They also provide a reality check at regular intervals along the journey to achieve their targets and inspire and motivate their teams to get the best from them.

The NHS system fails to train enough doctors and nurses here in the UK, so is reliant on importing overseas staff, locum doctors and agency nurses. All that comes ata heavy price when you are trying to establish ownership and commitment to a Trust, to each other as a team and importantly to the patients.

In those Trusts that are well led, and even in those that aren't, where are pockets of good leadership that have evolved, a career in the NHS is rewarding and the atmosphere supportive. But increasingly, as financial and staffing pressures mount, the changes required to cope with them require good effective leaders who can communicate well, inspire a positive and constructive team spirit and motivate their people.

Sadly, as the Care Quality Commission, Sir Robert Francis and many more have repeatedly said, such good leaders are increasingly both needed but hard to find.

The answer is greater support and coaching for leaders who are struggling and new leaders who are prepared to step up to take senior positions within the Trusts. Equally, that coaching must help them understand how to work and communicate better as a team, delivering consistent, coordinated communication that reinforces the best values that the NHS has and eliminate the negative issues that pervade some trusts.

As financial pressure rise, more Trusts are being merged, yet most NHS mergers have failed to properly address the complex operational and cultural challenges that mergers create. Again proper support, coaching and mentoring in change management leadership and communications is the answer that stops the them and us attitudes that still exist in some Trusts 10 years after they first merged.

MTM's specialist healthcare leadership & management coaching team have a range of development solutions that are available immediately, from auditing leadership communication skills, to stakeholder engagement strategies and change management programmes that actually work.

Early intervention like this is so much quicker, cost effective and easier, than waiting until you need our reputation and crisis management services. Once a Trust is in a crisis, the damage to morale and effective leadership takes time, care and deep understanding to sort out.

One hopes that Trust and NHS leaders will quickly realise that prevention is better than cure, before this winter's pressure take them down an increasingly slippy and expensive slope.

To find out more or to ask for a no obligation discussion about helping your Trust, please email wnp@mtmskillstraining.co.uk or call 01386 859664