People issues key to healthy outlook

Spanning every area of the NHS, HR is in a position to
really make a difference in the bid to improve the service, but individuals
need to rise to the challenge

AHHRM faces many challenges over the coming and future years.

The HR agenda in the NHS is continuing to grow at pace. Its profile in
recent years has rocketed with UK-wide representation helping to promote the
importance of people management within the health service.

The differing NHS plans throughout the UK will not be delivered without
strong people management. This raises the profile of personnel in the service
and in turn increases the expectations of managers and HR professionals in
tackling the complex staffing issues. It is not for the faint-hearted, but is a
real opportunity for the profession.

My message as AHHRM president – which I delivered to HR professionals in my
inaugural speech at the national conference in York – is that we shall reap
what we sow. If HR practitioners have nothing to say when they get to the top
table and in high-profile meetings, then they shouldn’t be there. We have to
rise to the challenge.

AHHRM will encourage HR professionals to welcome the targets and exceed them
at every opportunity, to demonstrate improvements in HR practice and to link
these to improving health and patient care.

The challenge for AHHRM is to get every HR professional to take pride in
their work and contribution through their unique position within the service.
Their role spans every area of the NHS which is a people business. Members need
to continue their excellent work to put personnel issues high on the agenda and
keep them there. They also need to understand the business, and while many do,
there are others who can do more to enhance their contribution.

There are many examples of specific HR issues which can directly benefit the
service to patients, including the Agenda for Change, the new NHS pay system.
But HR professionals, managers and clinicians throughout the service must
realise the benefits of the system. It is not just about changing grades, pay
and job titles, it will enable the development of new roles and ways of working
to directly influence the care received by patients and improve staff roles.

These opportunities need to be taken to make a difference and for
demonstrable returns on the investment to be seen.

This should also improve recruitment and retention and build on the
considerable progress already being made to "fill the gap" through
valuing diversity, increasing flexibility, improving personal development,
enhancing staff involvement, increasing training places, and developing
existing staff to fill skills shortages. This will also be aided by the
development of an NHS university.

AHHRM is unique in that it is UK-wide and strives to improve the
contribution of human resources management and those associated with it in the

There is some fantastic practice out there, and the key is to share it and
increase consistency everywhere.

AHHRM can help the health service do this and deliver improved healthcare
through exceptional HR practice – that is the fundamental challenge.

Tracy Myhill is personnel director for Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust and
AHHRM president for the next year.

Comments are closed.