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Staff pledge to improve patient care despite obstacles

Two-thirds of people think frontline staff have little or no say in how the NHS is run, research suggests.

In a survey conducted in the run-up to this year’s NHS Change Day on March 3, 65 per cent of the 1,014 people questioned felt frontline staff did not have enough input into the health service, despite being the ones most trusted
to improve it.

The findings chime with BMA research conducted among doctors last year. Two-thirds said they wanted to make changes or improvements but nine out of 10 said they encountered barriers or obstacles when they attempted to do so.

Doctors and other healthcare workers are being encouraged to do something big or small to improve things for patients and the health service on this year’s NHS Change Day.

Co-founder Damian Roland, a Leicester research fellow in paediatric emergency medicine, said: ‘This study gets to the heart of what Change Day is all about — the people with the real energy and ideas to drive change in the NHS are often
those who feel least able to do anything about it. Change Day is about tackling this.’

Last year, 189,000 pledges were made. One GP spent the day in a wheelchair to understand how his disabled patients felt, while a paediatrician is now working with his pharmacy to change the flavour of the medicines he prescribes to his young patients after tasting them himself.

Positive outcomes

BMA members have been sharing their progress:

  • BMA council chair Mark Porter has been ensuring patient safety is the top priority when considering and organising work, and reviewing service
  • Newcastle CT2 in psychiatry Tom Foley wanted to promote outcome measurements in his trust and beyond. He worked with his trust and clinical director to achieve this and has joined the UK routine clinical outcomes measurement network, which promotes outcome measurement among mental health trusts. He also lobbied the BMA research grants unit, which is now offering a new £55,000 grant to assist research into improving the development or implementation of clinical outcome measures, including qualitative measures
  • The BMA promised resources to help guide doctors through changes to the NHS. This included NHS Watch, which has been monitoring implementation of the Health and Social Care Act, and guidance on the changing NHS
  • Manchester consultant radiologist Anil Jain was prioritising health inequalities, particularly in breast cancer care. He is helping NHS England with a forthcoming breast cancer campaign as well as continuing his work locally, such as with the Asian Breast Cancer Support Group
  • BMA occupational medicine committee chair Paul Nicholson is facing an uphill battle to ‘promote and protect access to specialist-led occupational health services for all NHS staff’. NHS England recently confirmed that, from April, GP practices would have to fund such services for their staff. Dr Nicholson and BMA GPs committee chair Chaand Nagpaul have written to the Department of Health on the issue.

Make a pledge

How did you fulfil your pledge? Tell us below