Time to change our ways of working?

As I have mentioned several times in this blog, I come from a business background. I spent the best part of 30 years, building businesses from scratch or improving the efficiency of existing ones. Wherever I go, socially or business, I am always looking at how well the businesses work.I look at the staff, the service provided, the value for money, the environment, and the overall general efficiency.

My wife thinks I am being nosy, but I am generally interested in all types of business. In most instances I know nothing about, the products of the business, ie manufacturing, catering, making cars, or fixing people, to name but a few. However in my experience, there are common elements to running any business. Product, cost price, selling price,  staff costs equipment costs, and providing a great customer experience in an efficient manner. Generally a USP helps. (Unique Selling Point). Something that you have and others don’t.That will help get the price up!

In todays economically tough times, all businesses have to be competitive, to even survive. Our country demanded from retailers a few years ago, longer opening hours, including Sunday trading. This therefore meant that other service industries had to follow, and now even banks open at weekends and extended hours in the week. Who thought we would ever see that?
Even shops that didn’t agree with this policy, have been forced to follow, or die from their outdated ways.

In addition to the above, the internet is being used by most companies, to great effect. Better and speedier communication, online payment, and selling online, enabling companies to reach internationally, by the click of a button. The embrace of different working methods has enabled us to compete at the top table. We can do things quicker and more efficiently.Businesses have listened to what their customers want, and are making changes to be able to provide it.
That is why the likes of Twitter and Facebook etc, are so powerful in the market, as companies can establish immediately, their customers reaction to the things they are doing.

This brings me to the care which we receive. I have just read yet another article telling me that figures say that if I get admitted to hospital, out of 9-5 hours or at the weekend, the chances are that I will have a poorer outcome! Those of us, who are regular hospital visitors, know the drill, also if we are an inpatient at the w/end, we know what to expect. Like most things in the NHS, it has been like that for a long time, and I think that it has been unofficially accepted as, this is the way it is!

No one is more grateful for the wonderful care that I receive than me. I consider the doctors and nurses as my extended family. I think that the care and patience they have during some very trying circumstances is remarkable. But isn’t it time that the NHS, started to move in line with the rest of society? Why should it be a lottery if you get sick at night or at the w/end? Struggling to find a doctor in the middle of the night, almost feeling guilty, for troubling people out of hours!

Surely, all that expensive equipment in the hospitals, could be more productive if used ‘off peak’ as well. I do know that scanners etc are being used on Saturdays. I appreciate that if your working patterns have to change, that will be inconvenient, and it will need a massive culture change. I also appreciate that when you are dealing with sick people, that you need a certain amount of staff cover, to enable safe practice. I can see a lot of obstacles. But with clever management and resourceful HR, nothing that cannot be dealt with.

I can see that if you were a trust employee, you wouldn’t want your working pattern to change, but I think you would agree, that you would like the best available care, when you needed it,for you and your family. I remember very clearly when people were told that they would have to work on Sundays. They didn’t really like it. But those people were also consumers, who enjoy w/end shopping etc when they are not working.Now, 7 day a week services are what we have come to expect

Why, should we want anything less for our health service? At the end of the day, the monster that is the NHS, is a business, and we are it’s customers. Even massive banks are finally listening to their customers.It, like the Police and Government, are there to serve the people.We are very grateful for what we have, it has served us and our families well over the years, but a lot of the current practices have not moved with the times. We do need change, but some that benefits the patients.

Please let me know your thoughts on this issue. Do you agree/disagree?

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4 Comments

  1. Dear Chris,

    I have been following your blog for quite a time now, but have not reply due to my technical hick ups.

    As a therapist it is nice to see the fustration and anxiety that you as a patient have been through and the restrains that have taken place.

    Please continue this great work and inspiration that you can give fellow cancer challange people.

    As a therapist, I get the feeling of we can help so far as the body will allows us. We can not change life, but can only help the body along to which way it wants to lead us. We are all challenged but the techniques that have been developed, with knowledge that they can make a difference on the quanity for the existing life and these techniques come in all shapes and sizes not all suite every individuals. Therefore, voice an opinion is great because this adds to outcome, of how we treat that individual. Lets us know what feels best.

    Bev

  2. Hiya Bev
    Many thanks for your comments. It is interesting to hear about things from your side of the fence. You guys do a fantastic job, to fix our bones and stuff,something I can’t do!
    The idea of the Community is for people to come and share experiences.I have always tried to talk openly about every subject, so that people might feel encouraged to open up about their own experiences. I have always felt that once you are aware of the problem, you can do something to solve it.
    Therefore to enable professionals like you, to help us, we need to be honest with you.
    Your knowledge and experience is invaluable, and will be shared with all of the Community. Thank you for that, and I look forward to welcoming you back to the blog

  3. I totally agree !!! Like you, Chris, I have needed NHS treatment over the last 6 months and am incredibly grateful for all the care and attention I have received. However I am very worried if ever I need to contact the hospital ‘out of hours’ because I am not sure whether the treatment or care will be the same as during the week.

    There were some TV programmes a few years ago that highlighted the waste when operating theatres were not used over the weekends ( and even in some cases Friday afternoons ). Unfortunately I don’t think things have changed very much since this came to light.

    I think you set the scene well when you describe how life has moved on for the consumer in other areas. As you say it is not beyond careful planning by NHS strategists to work out how a better 24/7 service could be delivered. As you say again, everyone working in the NHS is a consumer too. I would be very interested in helping you pursue this campaign.

    Moira

    • Hi Moira
      Thanks for your comments Moira.I don’t think that we are on our own with this! As I see it, the biggest issue in this is that large Government bodies are suspicious of outsiders, and change. The decision makers have been in the system for so long, they only know one way of doing things.
      None of us want to lose the NHS, but we can’t just sit back, and resist constructive change.If independent businesses don’t move with the times,they will regress and eventually fail.That is market forces, and that is what drives business! Always customer focused!

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