06 / 2 / 2013 Midnight
Today's independent report into poor care at NHS Mid Staffordshire requires a major response from the Human Resources (HR) community but is also a chance for HR to show their leadership mettle.
Commenting on the final report from the independent Francis Inquiry, which explores failings that tragically caused hundreds of unnecessary deaths, Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, said:
"The sad and distressing treatment of patients and the failures highlighted by Robert Francis are a vivid reminder of the trust patients put in staff and what happens when we collectively fail to provide it.
"As a result of the Inquiry, all NHS organisations will be taking a hard look at their core HR approaches and working on Organisational Development plans that will collectively affect the lives of the 1.3 million NHS employees and the millions of people who use our services each week.
"NHS HR leaders will be responding by driving a major cultural change within their organisations to ensure staff are engaged and passionate about care. We simply cannot rest on our laurels and hope that outside agencies such as regulators can make the change for us.
"This is going to be a major test of our HR community. But if we get it right we can turn what is undoubtedly a tragedy into an opportunity for exceptional staff engagement, driving improvement in patient safety, patient experience and patient outcomes that would be a fitting tribute to those who suffered at Mid Staffordshire.
"This will probably be the greatest Organisational Development challenge we will ever face. It will call for exceptional and innovative approaches to staff engagement as we try and pick staff up from the demotivation and distress caused by ongoing revelations about poor care within parts of the NHS.
"We will have to use all our knowledge and expertise to develop plans that involve recruitment and selection, performance management, training and development, induction and reward, as well as approaches to management development and leadership. Most importantly, we have to continue to build staff confidence to be able to raise concerns knowing they will be supported to do so.
"This requires a strong response from NHS leaders, both within and between organisations. If we get it right, Francis can become a byword for improvement rather than failure."
The NHS Employers organisation has been supporting the HR and Organisational Development communities in the NHS through seminars and events, updating tool kits and guidance and building online forums to share ideas and approaches. You can find out more from our new NHS organisational development LinkedIn Group here.
The final report of The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, was published today and is available here.