A constant feature of the health and social care system is that it is always undergoing significant change. There is no reason why this will not continue into the future.
There will be a need for greater agility in the current and future workforce to respond to, and manage, repeated change. Creating a workforce which can adapt to change quickly will be crucial, but this must be underpinned by an organisational culture in which staff are suitably supported and empowered to work within this changing environment.
Responding to on-going change
The success of new models of care for patients, which will require the workforce to undertake greater multi-disciplinary and cross-organisational boundary working, is dependent on staff being more proactive, resilient and adaptable to change.
Change often adds additional pressure, uncertainty and burden onto the existing workforce. Without sufficient health and wellbeing support for staff, to enable them to be more resilient to change, there is an increased risk of a higher rate of attrition across the current workforce.
Given that much of the change anticipated through new models of care is unprecedented, limited best-in-class examples exist to guide the workforce through the delivery of planned changes to services.
In many cases the characteristics and behaviours expected of the workforce to deliver transformational change remain unclear or undefined. This can lead to a lack of direction in the ways in which the workforce should look to focus their development to better respond to change.
Developing agility and resilience is not always prominent in workforce education and training. There is a need to support new and existing staff to learn these skills in the ever-changing NHS environment.
A robust level of health and wellbeing for the workforce positively affects patient care and patient experience.
Organisational Effectiveness: A summary of how to respond to change with agility.
New ways of working, learning and organising: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust detail how they created an education strategy to develop competent and values driven staff, while opening employment opportunities for local residents.
The Change Academy – Developing Leaders to Deliver Integrated Care Guide.