Is the scientific workforce key to effective seven day services?

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30 / 7 / 2015 1.42pm

Hello everybody, and welcome to my July blog.  

As ever, things at the academy continue to be busy. As with many of us, we are fraught with negotiations and delivery but we are also seeing some exciting developments in the scientific arena around health and healthcare.
Every organisation, particularly those within the public sector, is facing financial challenges. The healthcare science workforce could be a big part of the solution to this. This could be due to the incredible advances that continue to be made, thanks to the work of scientists and of course, many others. While new developments may be expensive initially, just think of the savings to be made by all hospitals and wider health and social care providers and commissioners if the drug to slow the advance of Alzheimer’s is found to be as effective as it seems at this very early stage. Pause and think of the positive impact on the quality of life for those people and their carers who face the challenges of this disease, day in day out.

Recently some commentators have said that seven day working in the NHS is hampered by the lack of staff. I think that scientific and support staff could, with other groups, be the key to effective seven day services. Like other committed NHS clinical and non-clinical staff, they understand the goal and are fully aware of how difficult it is to implement. They must be included in the development of these services to bring innovative and new ways of working.

We continue to advance the cause of healthcare scientists with the aim of securing recognition for their contribution to direct patient care and in this context, their significant impact on cost efficiency. One way we are doing this is to raise the profile of scientific leadership as well as scientific operation. Our new president Dr. Brendan Cooper is working hard to take forward one clear voice for scientists, ensuring a collective and inclusive response to national policies and direction.

We are taking the themes from the recent Kings Fund Report, The practice of system leadership about managing in chaos (I’m sure that everyone reading this would have experienced that in their life at some time!) To that end the academy is engaging with the public and other stakeholders, particularly the healthcare scientists themselves - helping them to understand the need for change, and to recognise the ability of this workforce to help lead and give direction.

We need employers to recognise that this highly educated workforce is part of the solution. You will know that part of our remit is to represent the scientific body, but it is also to engage with them. We have many reliable channels that we use regularly and our networks are effective. We want to do more. To this end we are currently conducting a survey to determine what other communications channels and networks we need to tap into. It would be great if you and other communicators in your organisations could complete the survey to help us extend our reach even further. 

We also produce a bi monthly newsletter, VOX which is full of useful information for healthcare scientists and others. Please encourage your healthcare science workforce to access this. We have a regular newsletter too for all of our registrants. And as always, for more information on the academy and the programmes we offer please visit the AHCS website.

Next month, I hope to be able to report on some exciting future developments. But until then, thank you for reading and keep in touch. 

Janet Monkman is chief executive at the Academy for Healthcare Science

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