Team Working and Collaboration In The NHS

A lot is written about the importance of team working.  What is clear that while team work is important in most organisations, it is absolutely vital in the NHS.


Sadly there is often a huge variation in the levels of team work and collaboration.  Some do it extremely well.  Others get it right in pockets of the organisation.  Others just appear to work in silos.


With so many highly skilled people it maybe is not surprising that team working is more difficult.  People tend to look through the lens of their own experience.  Maybe that is because they are not encouraged to look at others perspectives by their leaders or colleagues.  Perhaps it is down to the fact that in some fields such as medicine, people are use to competing rather than collaborating.


So why is team working and collaboration so important you might ask?


Let’s take a typical day in the NHS.  Thousands of people access the services.  This could be anywhere from a GP clinic to an emergency department.


Even if they wanted to, no one part of the NHS could ever hope to deal with it all by themselves or through the involvement of just a few people.  Even something as simple as a routine GP visit is more than likely going to involve reception staff, the GP, possibly a practice nurse and often a pharmacist for prescriptions.


If the case is more complicated phlebotomists and lab staff in pathology might get involved.  People might require an X-Ray again involving more people.


When people operate in silos rather than teams there is only one person who tends to lose out.


And the person who loses out is the patient or service user.  Ultimately the person who contributes towards the income from the NHS and is for all intents and purposes the customer suffers because of a lack of team work.


While there are usually different organisations buying and providing services they are at the end of the day serving the same patient.  When people collaborate things work more effectively, patient satisfaction increases and morale and motivation of those staff delivering care and services is high.


So what areas of great practice have you seen when it comes to team working and collaboration?  Why not leave a comment with your experiences.


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