Gordon Stephen, Employee Director explains how NHS staff in Grampian are striving to make a difference to people's lives.
Did you know that NHS Grampian is the biggest employer in the North of Scotland, employing over 17,000 people, the length and breadth of Grampian? If we include the families of staff then between a quarter and a fifth of the Grampian population is connected directly or indirectly with our organisation. Did you know that there are over 200 different jobs in the NHS - some of them undertaken by many thousands of people and some by just one person? Every day in Grampian approximately 6,000 people visit their GP, district nurses make 1,250 visits and 2,700 people are seen as outpatients.
It all adds up to a huge 'machine' or a big 'business'. We don't see it as a business or a machine. Of course, there are some similarities and we must ensure that we learn from the things business does well and apply that learning to the NHS. But fundamentally, for us the staff of NHS Grampian is the organisation - people who do things for people - day in, day out. People we value, who know the services they deliver, the challenges and opportunities they face and who very often know the solutions. We are committed to involving and working with staff in the way in which we plan and deliver services, now and in the future. Listening to the views of staff is very important to us - through the staff surveys that are held every two years, by face to face discussions, and through our staff side representatives, partnership working and the partnership forum.
In Grampian we have a culture and history of working together - staff, management, patients, carers and the public. That doesn't mean we always agree - when money is tight, choices have to be made and priorities re-set. We share a strong commitment to delivering the best possible patient care, but we know we can always improve, do better and do more. Every single member of staff in NHS Grampian has a role to play in delivering our vision and our Health Plan. For some staff that is a very direct, hands on, clinical role. For others it is a supporting role. For many it is a behind the scenes role. We see each of these roles as equally important and we see the involvement of all staff, working in partnership, as an essential part of the way we work.
Developing our workforce
NHS Grampian's aim is to ensure that we meet the needs of individuals and communities by providing high quality, safe and affordable care through a flexible workforce.
Throughout this plan we have talked about our staff and how important they are in helping us meet the various challenges ahead, as well as ensuring that the exciting plans for improving health and services are delivered.
NHS Grampian faces a potential funding gap for 2010/11. With workforce accounting for approximately 70% of our controlled spend, it is essential we review our workforce to ensure it is safe, affordable and able to meet the tough challenges ahead. We will require to reduce our staff costs in years to come, through a combination of reducing the number of posts from current levels, for example, not always replacing vacant posts, reviewing the skill mix of staff, reducing hours where possible and carefully managing the use of overtime. To help us deliver the various challenges mentioned in this plan, we will work more closely with regional colleagues in the North of Scotland in the NHS and across the wider public sector.
As explained by Mark Sinclair in Keep Improving, we will empower our staff to carry out Continuous Service Improvement. This will remove waste and inefficiency, which in turn, will free up staff to focus on patient care.
There is no doubt the forthcoming years will present a challenge to all at NHS Grampian. We are confident that by involving and developing our staff, by working in partnership, by communicating clearly and honestly, and by building a sustainable and flexible workforce, we will be in the ideal position to overcome these challenges.
Head of Human Resources