More power for HR directors

Hospitals will be expected to adjust staffing levels in order to meet
waiting list targets, under new proposals announced by the Department of
Health’s HR director.

Andrew Foster wants individual hospitals to adopt the Government’s blueprint
of evaluating staff levels – and how to achieve them – according to the demands
of patient waiting lists.

He told delegates this approach would place greater responsibility on NHS HR
directors and help them gain the respect of their chief executives. "We
need to replicate it at all levels. This is part of an extremely important
argument around mainstreaming HR," he said.

"You all know one of the biggest priorities chief executives are really
focused on is waiting lists, and what we are doing here is not only linking in
the HR numbers but the measures we need to take. It shows how the HR function
can provide answers to some of the fundamental challenges facing the NHS."

Foster plans to initially incorporate the approach within England’s 28
regional health author- ities,then roll it out nationally.

He urged health service HR directors to investigate using shared service
centres to carry out more transactional HR tasks, freeing it to tackle
strategic work and issues including pay reforms and the Working Time Directive.

"We come from a historical situation where an under-resourced personnel
function, which is aware of the real ability of HR, tends to do only
transactional tasks. This leaves us in a position of perpetual catch up. The
shared services approach takes the transactional aspect out of HR," said

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