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HR’s Role in Getting the NHS Healthy Goes Under the Spotlight


A new report says there is no ‘one best way’ of implementing good people management policies in the National Health Service (NHS).

Improving health through HR management is based on research undertaken by Manchester Business School and funded by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) and the Department of Health.

According to the report, HR managers cannot do the job on their own, but need to look to their relationships with a range of stakeholders, including other managers and colleagues, to enable improvements in performance.

The report finds that it is important for staff to be able to influence changes and get involved in them. Staff responded very positively to situations where they were able to improve services for patients, and where their professional commitment and ability to achieve results was recognised.

Mike Emmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, said: "Managing in the public sector presents particular opportunities and challenges. The report shows that staff in the NHS are generally willing to go beyond expectations in the way they do their job, especially where there would otherwise be a detrimental impact on patient care. They have no doubt that the quality of care they give patients is an essential contribution to meeting performance standards.

"However the interdependence of a number of clinical, professional and other groupings, and the need to work across organisational boundaries, together with the political framework, can make strategic leadership an uphill struggle. As in other sectors, a key role for HR is supporting other managers in developing their people.”

Emmott notes that the report comments on the aspiration to shift HR processes within the NHS from being transactional to being transformational: “HR needs to ensure that its strategy is aligned to that of the organisation and that there is a shared understanding of their role across the management team."


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