Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Mid Staffs Inquiry - SPF response

In Hard Truths: the journey to putting patients first, the Government's response to the Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, the SPF contributed the following statement and six key messages:

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) believes that we have an opportunity to use the Francis inquiry report to emphasise fundamental strengths within the NHS workforce and challenge issues that need to be addressed. We also believe that staff are the biggest asset of the NHS and its greatest investment.

Our starting point is that staff and managers in the NHS want to provide compassionate care and to do their best for patients and families. Every day in every ward, clinic and community, this is happening.

We need to continue to build on our strengths to develop positive working environments through:

This is highlighted in a growing body of research evidence (West et al 2011; Berwick 2013) and should be implemented with the rigour of a new drug or treatment.

In particular, for staff to have well designed jobs, access to appropriate training and education, support to maintain their health, wellbeing and safety and to be involved in decisions that affect them.

This needs to be done by all providers of NHS services [whatever their sector] as well as commissioners and regulators. We would urge that the NHS staff survey is completed by all providers of NHS services.

These are recognised as essential to good patient care and patient outcomes, but are only one component of establishing safe staffing. There also needs to be effective whole team working supported by good employment systems.

Working to deliver a cultural change so that staff feel able to raise issues of concern and know they will be listened to.