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  • The challenge of culture change in the NHS

    Claire Cox
    Article information
    • UK
    • Videos and animations
    • Pre-existing
    • Original author
    • No
    • Professor Michael West, Professor Naomi Chambers, Professor Graham Martin, Jeremy Taylor and Suzie Bailey
    • 19/06/20
    • Patient safety leads, Researchers/academics


    Connection, inclusion and compassion are certain, unchanging, and provide a safe refuge to deal with what feels frightening and isolating for so many.

    The challenge set by the Francis Inquiry Report – to create a compassionate, inclusive organisational culture – is now amplified in the COVID-19 era, which the NHS entered with pre-existing record levels of staff stress and chronic excessive workloads.

    This workshop from the University of Manchester, explores the problems and opportunities associated with changing healthcare organisation cultures.


    The first presentation draws on a recent National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded mixed-methods evaluation of the translation into practice of several ‘post-Francis’ policies that have aimed to improve openness in the NHS, and identifies key conditions necessary for policies to make sustainable impact on culture and behaviour.

    The second presentation reflects on material from a forthcoming book which will offer unfiltered accounts from patients, carers and healthcare professionals about their good and bad experiences of how care is organised, from birth up to the end of life. Their testimonies indicate the salience of kindness and attentiveness combined with efficiency and competence.

    Finally, the context for a culture of openness and for patient-centred services will be presented, alongside the development of a culture change programme which is being used in 70 Trusts in England. Significant and unacceptable variations in the availability of high quality care and in staff wellbeing persist across the NHS and social care, exemplified by very different COVID-19 experiences across the sector.

    How far does this kind of research on culture and these kinds of programme interventions help us to gain whole system traction in this important area of laying the conditions for reliably compassionate patient care? How can positive cultures and new working practices that have developed during the COVID-19 pandemic be sustained?


    The challenge of culture change in the NHS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq3NtYSE7OE
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