Government hands HR key part to play

Government plans to overhaul performance management in the NHS will cast HR in a central role.

Hugh Taylor, HR director of the NHS Executive, told delegates at the conference of health service personnel managers’ body the AHHRM, that health secretary Alan Millburn will this week unveil proposals to give HR a role in standardising good practice across the health service and encouraging staff to develop innovative ideas.

HR will be key in ensuring best practice is identified and spread throughout trusts and the wider NHS community, said Taylor.

“The leadership skills of HR managers and their ability to manage change will be central if the [NHS] plan is to work,” he said.

“Performance improvement will require these high-level HR management skills,” he added.

Taylor cited fast food giant McDonalds as a role model for the NHS in the way it manages change.

“The challenge will be to control developments in the way we do things. We will get a McDonalds approach to managing change if we do this,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s positive gloss on the new performance management framework steered clear of the contentious issue of how poorly performing NHS organisations would be dealt with.

The NHS Plan, launched in July, outlined plans to attach strings to the funding of trusts that fail to meet government targets and, in the worst cases, to send in teams to take over from failing trust executives.

Taylor said HR professionals would be responsible under the new framework for changing systems to encourage inter-disciplinary teamworking and closer communication between hospitals and primary care.

He added that HR had a role in moving the NHS away from the blame culture. “We need to move away from shouting to sharing, from inventing to adapting.”

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