#ImInWorkJeremy Campaign – Can we change the rhetoric @Jeremy_Hunt ? #NHS staff are Burning out!

So, I feel that I must blog about the #ImInWorkJeremy twitter campaign, which is currently in full force following Jeremy Hunts call for a #7dayNHS. Firstly, I believe that everyone is on the same page in terms of wanting the safest patient care possible. However, I am not so sure that the health and well being of NHS staff is being as valued at present, which as we all know, is surprising given the direct correlation that #NHS staff health has with the quality of patient care.

NHS staff are tweeting this weekend about how they are already working and keeping patients safe. They are doing so largely without breaks, food or a stress free environment – THANK YOU!

However, 65% of NHS staff have attended work when they have felt unwell enough to do so. I am concerned that this is not conducive to safe and effective quality patient care. If more pressure is put on NHS staff to perform for longer/harder hours, how will this statistic be affected? and how will that impact upon patient care? Will we find problems with the Wednesday service if we prop up the Sunday service? How can we deliver a #7dayNHS with more doctors if we don’t also have more nurses/midwives and support staff?

The challenges to achieve this are many… and it is clear by the many tweets I have seen this weekend that a #7dayNHS is already happening….

So why does Jeremy Hunt want NHS staff to work more unsociable hours? Well he has claimed that “Around 6,000 people lose their lives every year because we do not have a proper 7-day service in hospitals.” Yet there are further claims that there is yet to be a source for this claim. Confused yet?

I think the real problem here is that NHS staff may have been made to feel like naughty children who are being told what to do to make things better, rather that being inspired and carried forward by strong leadership. Everybody wants to make the NHS the best it can be. We are on the same team, so why have NHS staff been made to feel devalued?

The Secretary of State for Health (Jeremy Hunt Himself) asked Lord Rose to conduct a review into leadership in the NHS. The review asked:

  • what might be done to attract and develop talent from inside and outside the health sector into leading positions in the NHS?
  • how could strong leadership in hospital trusts might help transform the way things get done?
  • how best to equip clinical commissioning groups to deliver the Five Year Forward View

This review reported that: “First, the NHS consistently delivers great service through a committed and passionate workforce of 1.38m staff in England . During my Review I heard many great stories (only a few not so great). Mostly I found staff motivated and focused, often running on goodwill in a tough environment; some places felt more positive than others.”

This was great to hear! Our NHS staff are being praised for the amazing work they do! Praised for the service they provide and acknowledged for the sacrifices they make to do so. We are all on the same page to do good things. The service is great! But yes, the environment is tough Jeremy..tougher than you may think it is….NHS hospitals are pushing young medics to brink of ‘burnout’ by relying on them to work extra hours…NHS staff want to work towards an even better service, but they need support in doing this, not be whipped and forced into doing so. Picking a fight is not in anyone’s best interest.

We know that engaging NHS staff will improve patient care and staff absenteeism ….so Jeremy I ask you…can we change the rhetoric here? Can we engage staff in this conversation rather than isolate them? They need to feel valued, inspired and driven in order to perform at their best. There is now an Outcry in the blogging community, calling for Jeremy Hunt to resign… However, I think what may be needed here is a new narrative, where staff feel valued and empowered to engage with the vision for the future NHS services alongside you, rather than feeling as though they are being dragged by their pigtails.

We are on the same team… Let’s be kind to each other.

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