After a visit to Pilgrim Hospital this week with my wife for an outpatient appointment it was very apparent that all the staff there were trying very hard to be friendly and helpful.
The place was clean, even at wall floor junctions and in cracks and crevices, despite a couple of places that need some maintenance of the fabric.
We heard the head nurse of the trust say this week that new systems for patient care will be put in place but this of course won’t work.
Think of the analogy of a football team with good players who consistently lose games.
The manager’s response will definitely not be to write new systems and expect the players to read the documentation and follow the systems.
No, the good manager will get right amongst the players and weld them into a team, using the many inspirational and interpersonal skills needed, as well of course as having the final sanction of getting rid of poor team players.
This is what seems to be missing throughout the NHS.
We have in the NHS a lot of good, dedicated and hardworking people in the system but this on it’s own isn’t enough.
A good coach and manager needs to be there for the team every day and doesn’t sit in a remote central office.
There are all these good hard working people in Pilgrims Hospital who have been accused of failure, so where is the leadership?
What would be wrong with what Tesco and Asda do, having a customer services desk in a hospital where people are invited to take their problems?
Of course this desk would have to be truly effective and have rapid communication links to the leaders.
We do, by the way, need leaders, not managers.