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When it was mooted that retired-clinicians might be asked to come back to the NHS, to be Corona-Champions and help out, I just assumed there is a strong sense of vocation in the service and if we needed a bit of help, people would roll-up their sleeves and say, ‘what can I do’.

I didn’t bargain for the Twitter-storm of people saying, in terms; not on yer Nelly and this sort of reporting.

The argument seems to run; political decisions have run the NHS short of staff, so why should I run the risk of catching the virus, to bail them out.  And; I’m retired and in the at risk group, so why should I do it…

I still think there is enough of a vocational pull and people will step-up.  I guess we could find out soon enough.

Government’s latest Covid-wheeze is to get serious about volunteers.

Is it true to say, the NHS doesn’t have the status it once did?  No longer a career, it’s become a job?  Not seen as the ‘family’ it once was?  People want a life and a job, not a career and no life.

The impact of overburdening regulation, unreasonable pressures, bullying, top-down leverage?  There is little doubt that a sustained period of austerity funding has had consequences on morale.

If the workforce pressures are to be attenuated, relived, fixed… we have to think about the NHS as an employer.  As one of the world’s biggest employers I don’t think it can claim to be anywhere near one of the world’s best.

We have to stop people leaving, before their time.

For example, the number of nurses leaving the NHS prematurely, has tripled, about 500 a week are going.

All work is a transactional process.  You come to work and rent your skills to an employer, in pursuit of their wider objective.  The rent is called wages… or salary.

At a time and place where employees have transferrable skills and are in demand, employers have to move beyond the transaction into a mode where people come to work, not because they have to, but because they want to.  

Not because they must, but because they might… they might chose to work with you, so look after them.

This opens the door onto the world of conditions, emoluments and perks.

The NHS is different.  Whilst there is a well know shortage of clinicians, world-wide, the pull of family, language and familiarity means most NHS people, work not too far from where they trained.  

Few take the challenge of shipping out to warmer-climes.  There is a low level of mobility amongst the 1.2m workers.

From the employer’s point of view, they know, doctors and nurses, for the most part, can only work where doctors, nurses and the allied professions, work.  That means the NHS.  

The restrictions of continuing professional development, to stay on the register, makes working outside the NHS, complicated.

Whilst there is a row about it, pensions are a big draw and yes, we’d all like more, salaries are a good average, or above.

Wrapping all that together means NHS employers get away with blue-murder.

There are few hosptials that go out of their way to provide benefits.  Yet, when they do, they run the risk of getting hit with VAT penalties or benefits-in-kind problems, over something as simple as free car-parking.

NHS staff can’t jump the queue to get treatment, few employers have real occupational health programmes that are meaningful.  No family members get a benefit.

Given the number of women the NHS employs and women are the principle carers, how many have family-friendly policies?  Even less chance if you are a single dad…

For staff on their feet all day, no free chiropody or physio.  Where the local hospital is the biggest local employer, discounts at local shops are a rarity.  Aerobic classes, pilates, running groups, baking groups, book-clubs, hairdressing, massage.  Kids-summer-schools, crèche facilities… as unusual as a smiling finance director!

Courses, career development, learning, not protected and get binned when the finances are rubbish.

Bullying, seems to come with the territory, having a say, being asked, included, joining in, err… seldom.

The IHM are wondering what makes a good employer and they are conducting a fast-poll.  You don’t have to be a member, they are inviting you to join in and have a say.

Your opinions matter and we will make them count.

What makes a good employer?  Tell us. What makes you want to some to work.  Tell us.  Click here 

(just six clicks) to join in and when we find out, you’ll be the first to know!   

Thank you…

News and Comment from Roy Lilley

Contact Roy – please use this e-address roy.lilley@nhsmanagers.net

Reproduced at TrainingPrimaryCare.com by kind permission of Roy Lilley.