Would the UK be healthier if we looked after the health of our staff?

I recently found myself privileged enough to be able to attend the World Innovation Summit for Health, in Qatar. (www.wish-qatar.org) For those who aren’t aware, this is an annual summit that occurs in Doha, the Qatari capital, with a sole focus on creating a healthier world through Global collaboration.

I spent two days in the presence of a variety of healthcare policy leaders from across the Globe and felt considerably humbled. I left the summit inspired. Not only because I caught a glimpse at how big the world really is and how many people are seeking to tackle the challenges that we all face in healthcare, but also how people were willing to share to reach a common goal. They were willing to share not only stories of success but also stories of failure so that their global peers would not waste their time in the same vain.

Some powerful tools were used to convey messages and capture audiences. In particular I was struck by a TV advert from Thailand that was shown, demonstrating a successful anti-smoking campaign. A video made on a shoe string budget and easily replicated. www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqbLe4EnmEM.

The NHS was mentioned on several occasions as a beacon of healthcare that other countries, particularly those in developing worlds, aspire to. Whilst this was excellent it also got me thinking about two areas.

1. As HR leaders in the NHS we are all part of the fifth largest employer in the world with a staggering 1.7 million workers! If we looked after the health and happiness of our own workforce, I wonder, how much healthier would the UK be? If we improve the health of our workforce, surely it will knock on to the local populations they serve, and reduce some of the pressure that everyone is facing regarding a growing elderly unhealthy population? Do we do enough?

2. Secondly, if we do enough, do we do enough to share our stories of best practice in this field? Good ones, bad ones, controversial ones? What good initiatives or bad initiatives have your organizations done recently, and how can we all hear about it in a safe professional confidential manner?

I am all for setting up a workforce innovation network for health. Something informal but dedicated to improving the health of our workforce, a safe environment where ideas can be shared and tools developed to help local implementation. Let’s chat. What’s been done well? What’s not been tried before? If you are interested in joining the discussion please don’t hesitate to contact me and let’s start with sharing some ideas and using some creative techniques to maximize the innovation!

Richard Edge, HR & Workforce Consultant at Ara Darzi Qatar Ltd / Primary Health Care Corporation

If you would like to comment on Richard’s blog, please contact him on rickedge22@hotmail.co.uk or add your comments below

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