HR gets forgotton as managers double up

New research highlights serious deficiencies in management and staff
development at NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCT), with little HR capacity available
to drive change.

PCTs play a key role in the funding of the NHS in England and control 75 per
cent of the NHS’s £40bn annual budget.

However, the PCT Polling Report showed that senior management, including HR
directors, financial directors and IT directors, are working in multiple roles
across different PCTs.

The research said that sharing roles gave rise to concerns about management
expertise, such as leadership and the capacity of personnel to deal with

HR is particularly neglected, with 38 out of the 50 PCTs surveyed (76 per
cent) without a full-time, dedicated director of HR.

The report commissioned by the Hudson Consultancy said there was little
consistency regarding the recruitment and development of staff. It noted that
staff appraisals were the main way that PCTs benchmark and assess skill-set
competency, but said there did not appear to be a consistent way of assessing
skills across the PCTs.

Sandra White, chair of the Institute of Healthcare Management, said that a
lack of capacity meant that while staff wanted to get training and to develop
their careers, they were not able do so.

"We can find the time [for training] and most of our dedicated
frontline staff want to have training and develop," she said. "But
then you have to find someone to look after the patients. Until we grow a
considerable number of people to fill the gaps, it’s not going to happen."

By Michael Millar

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