Peter Homa discusses the vital place of effective teamwork in healthcare delivery.

Effective teamwork is a cliché I’m happy to cling to. It is essential to delivering the kind of quality care people have come to expect and deserve. In Nottingham, we offer a 24/7 service to more than a million patients every year. We do this best by working together, collectively, for one another.

Our hospital services and those in the community are delivered by many strong teams - some are small and provide vital support and backroom functions; others are large clinical directorates with over 1,000 staff, led by clinical directors, clinical leads and general managers. Others work in our satellite units around the county.

With all of the imperfections and challenges that operating a large, complex organisation such as Nottingham University Hospitals brings, I am confident that regardless of our role or location, each one of us has have one thing in common. We are here to do the very best we can for our patients and contribute with partners to the wider vision of our health services more generally.

There is an excellent example from Nottingham. We’re launching a trust-wide campaign in our hospitals called “Caring around the clock”. It reinforces the traditional values of hourly rounding – and does exactly what it says. We offer round-the-clock care. Patients can expect regular, hourly checks from nurses, doctors and domestic staff – everyone who comes into contact with our patients. Whatever their role, they all have a part to play in ensuring that patients’ hospital experience is a positive one.

It may seem like a small thing to do – a simple check, a quick chat, a hand placed gently and  reassuringly on a shoulder to say, “How are you feeling?” but each such moment makes a difference to patients.

Nottingham University Hospital’s staff continue to find ways of working together to meet the many challenges we face. It is by working together that we have saved an unprecedented £39m over the last year – a level of saving we have never achieved before.

We have achieved this by many hundreds of staff suggesting ideas and innovative ways of working which improve the quality and efficiency of our services. It is tough and difficult work. No matter how large or small the ideas for improvement, every action contributes to our wider programme of savings.

We have a truly excellent team here in Nottingham. It continues to develop through continuous learning from one another and others. Over 14,000 people have signed up as members to support foundation trust application. They’ve signed up to help us in our vision for a better, patient and community led hospital trust. This teamwork expands into the community.

And taking this even further, as the community and hospital team unites, it is clear that we cannot simply operate as a city in isolation. Already we are operating in partnership with others to serve a larger population as a major trauma centre for the East Midlands. 

We are always delighted to welcome visitors to Nottingham to share our clinical and organisational experiences. During such visits, we always learn at least as much as we share. We are also pleased to support staff visit other health and non health organisations to help review, renew and refresh how we do things. As my mentor wisely observed, “there is always a better way” – our challenge is to find and implement it.