COVID-19 series: how to build a more resilient healthcare system

The NHS has been through a period of rapid change over the past few months. Increased demand for healthcare services during COVID-19 forced trusts to urgently step up their capacity and find more efficient ways of working.

However, in order to drive value from existing improvements and build resilience for any future crises, there are a number of steps that trusts should consider taking.

1. Streamline operating models

A key challenge currently facing the NHS is the need to restart routine treatments. By using multi-disciplinary teams and leaner operating models, trusts can speed-up decision-making and the delivery of treatment plans. However, it is vital that this does not come at the expense of the quality of care provided to patients.

2. Manage resources efficiently

To restart routine services without breaking the bank, it’s important that existing resources are used efficiently. Trusts should consider creative ways to build flexibility into existing working arrangements to get services back up and running. For instance, would increasing the number of services working a 7-day week be beneficial to the patients?

3. Encourage collaboration

In order to bolster the NHS ahead of any future crises, trusts should promote a culture of collaboration across different areas of healthcare expertise. By encouraging workers to understand different areas of the organisation, it is possible to reduce NHS services becoming reliant on specific individuals, limiting the chance of services being interrupted.

4. Take care of healthcare workers

Healthcare staff on COVID-19 wards have been under significant pressure in recent months. Consequently this could have a long-term impact on workforce wellbeing. Providing them with the right on-going psychological support and putting robust HR functions in place will be important to ensure wellbeing and productivity do not take a hit in the months ahead.

5. Communication is key

Effective communication with staff and partners is vital if results from organisational changes are to stand the test of time. By focusing on three key messages – why the change is happening, exactly what it means and the expected benefits – the NHS can get the entire organisation on board and make it a success.

For more advice on delivering lasting change within the healthcare sector, contact us here.

Published: Jul 7, 2020

By Sue Johnson Gregory

Principal Consultant

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