Jan 16, 2015

It takes a crisis... to create change


With news of A&E waiting times at their worst level for 10 years, and general hospitals enacting special measures due to unprecedented demand, regional services are being forced to adapt and collaborate as never before. The health economy in South West England and many other NHS regions is experiencing unprecedented pressure as funding growth stalls and services must adapt and reconfigure to deliver 'the same for less.'

Against this background, Musgrove Park Hospital NHS Trust (MPH NHS Trust) briefed ROAD Communications to plot the opinions of regional NHS stakeholders, and guide communications around key commercial issues. Paul Jarman, ROAD's managing director explains, "All areas of the NHS are facing a period of massive change, and with that comes uncertainty. Many consider the current funding restrictions on the NHS as a defining moment in the organisation's history."

As such, ROAD consulted widely with stakeholders across the South West health economy, mapped attitudes, and supported the MPH NHS Trust executive team on the communications issues they face in their dynamic and complex new environment. This new environment and its marked funding gap must be addressed by using what new NHS England head, Simon Stevens, calls a culture of innovation and solutions, based on the principle that, 'Necessity is the mother of invention.' This means that an increasing proportion of hospital funding from NHS England and local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be explicitly tied to prevention, quality of care, and to patients' own views. Other major redesigns will include how GPs, local hospitals, social care and community health services work together. This all equates not so much to a paint job, but to a radical redesign.

Paul Jarman, managing director of ROAD explains: "Simon Stevens' view is that we need different solutions for diverse communities, and that a one-size fits all system in no longer tenable. It's up to providers to make sense of their local economy, build relationships, work in partnership, and create new ways of working together. Collaboration on local and regional services will be the key to success. And collaboration begins with finding the shared common ground and communication."

Getting the communication right is where we take pride in supporting both the private and public sector - at various levels of health-related organisations. For sure, they don't get much bigger than Europe's biggest employer.