Daloni Carlisle explains how a training programme will demonstrate to Serco facilities management staff the impact their work has on those in their hospital’s care

In May 2017, Serco will launch what may be the first hospital-wide effort to mobilise non-clinical support staff to make things better for patients.

In an as-yet unnamed hospital, Serco will put its facilities management staff through a structured training programme that brings to life – and into practice – research showing that non-clinical staff can and do have a significant impact on patient well-being and clinical staff satisfaction.

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Serco logo 370x229

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“We will be working with our facilities management staff and the trust clinical staff in five wards to start with,” says Stephanie Gray-Roberts, Serco’s director of clinical governance. “They will go through training modules designed specifically for this programme that will show them the positive effect they can have on the patient journey by implementing some subtle changes in the way they work.”

It is, she says, the simple things that count. “It’s the facial expressions, the tone of voice, the time spent engaging with patients and recognising when an observation needs passing on to the clinical staff.”

‘It is a fundamental change in how people see their role and feel part of a core team that can really impact on patient care’

It is about empowering staff to pass on these observations and be clear that they will be heard and acted on and helping, for example, reception or car parking staff to understand the role they have in ensuring patients arrive at the consultation with the clinician in the best state of mind possible to make the best of that opportunity.

Paul Martin, managing consultant at ExperienceLab, Serco’s in-house design and customer experience experts, is adamant that this is about more than asking staff to wear a smile badge – but equally is not about asking them to abandon their job responsibilities in favour of chatting with patients.

Fundamental change

“We are creating a new model for facilities management services and how they might be delivered,” he says. “It is a fundamental change in how people see their role and feel part of a core team that can really impact on patient care.”

The first five wards will be joined by the whole pathfinder hospital and then the programme will be rolled out across the other 15 UK hospitals where Serco provides the outsourced FM staff.

It is too early to talk metrics, but overtime Serco hopes they will be able to show the real difference to patients and to staff that taking this approach can make.

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