How culture change could be achieved in the NHS - report launch

The practical steps required to implement culture change in the NHS is the subject of a new report launched today, Thursday 6 November 2014, by the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP).

The report, ‘NHS Culture Change: Contributions from Occupational Psychology’, presents a series of essays by leading Occupational Psychologists, each drawing on evidence and expertise from the science of people at work to address the question of how successful culture change, as recommended by the Francis Report and subsequent Berwick Review, can be implemented within the NHS. It has been compiled by the DOP working group Occupational Psychology in Public Policy (OPIPP).

The essays take as a starting point the fact that to facilitate excellent patient care, staff wellbeing and empowerment must be prioritised. Appropriate work design and support for staff welfare such as Schwartz Centre Rounds are recommended, along with a greater focus on collective leadership and the need to ensure psychological safety of staff members when building a culture of transparency and openness.

Barbara Wren, Lead Psychologist at the Point of Care Foundation and a contributor to the report, is leading delivery of Schwartz Centre Rounds at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Barbara said: “A key message of the report is that staff wellbeing must be ensured in order to sustain NHS culture change, with psychologically safe work environments that engage and empower staff a necessary prerequisite to the delivery of more compassionate and safe patient care.

“This collection of essays shows that occupational psychology as a discipline, with its strong evidence base and powerful track record of creating applied solutions to organisational challenges, has much to offer in terms of helping NHS policy makers and hospital trusts to understand how the working conditions for success, quality care and staff and patient safety can be created and sustained.”

Topics discussed in the report include ‘Work design for compassionate care and patient safety’, ‘Leadership: Directing culture change and enabling staff wellbeing’ and ‘Building cultures of transparency and openness’.

BPS Associate Fellow Louisa Tate, Convenor of OPIPP, said: “Following the landmark publication of the 2013 Francis Report and Berwick review, the monumental task of implementing its recommended culture change within the NHS has dominated the healthcare policy landscape. Indeed, more recently Francis has launched an independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS. This report aims to contribute to these objectives by offering an Occupational Psychology perspective on the practical steps required to deliver successful organisational culture change within the NHS.”

The launch will include short presentations from leading academics, including BPS Fellow Michael West, Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School and Emeritus Professor at Aston University.

To download a free copy of the report visit the BPS Shop (you will need to sign in).

OPIPP is a working group of the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP). It is committed to presenting the occupational psychology perspective on public policy issues. Find out more about OPIPP.

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