A change of mindset is needed if the NHS is to truly unlock the power of support staff to deliver better value, better environments and better care, writes Ian Crichton

Over half a million staff work in areas that support the NHS’s clinical care. We have built a clear and compelling evidence base that how these staff undertake their roles and interact with patients can make a huge difference to patient experience, especially when in hospital, even impacting the speed of recovery and care outcomes.

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So how do we unlock the support workforce’s potential? First, we need to empower support staff and help them understand the power they have to impact on patients.

That means encouraging them to speak up and suggest ideas or raise concerns, and creating a culture in which they feel part of a single team with clinical colleagues, working towards the shared objective of delivering great care.

We need better pay and career development for support services roles

Second, we need better pay and career development for support services roles. Too often support services can be treated as a commodity, where price is the overriding consideration in procurement. Instead, we collectively need to invest in building a better motivated, lower turnover workforce, supported by high quality training and with routes for career progression.

Third, it is crucial that support services get the specialist attention and focus that they deserve. At Serco, we bring deep expertise and experience in getting these services right, which in turn allows the NHS to focus on what it does best – delivering great clinical treatment and care.


From 'I'm only a porter' to 'I'm a porter': Supporting non-clinical staff to recognise their value