Why Team Working Is A Struggle In The NHS

Ask most people in the NHS whether more is achieved when people collaborate and the vast majority will agree.  Yet there is often a difference between what people understand and what they actually do in practice.


During my time working in the NHS I was part of teams where great things were achieved.  I was also part of teams where little or nothing was achieved.  In the context of the NHS, good team working is not just desirable but essential to deliver great services on a day to day basis.


So if this is the case, why is it often a struggle to have good team working in the NHS?


Reason 1: Loyalty


People by necessity are attached to a particular service or function.  Every person is hugely loyal towards their own area.  The downside is that it can easily result in people losing sight of the bigger objectives.


Reason 2: Lack of Awareness


I worked in Finance in the NHS for 15 years.  Over the last 8 years I have been fortunate enough to train over 1500 doctors and other health professionals as well as hundreds of Finance staff.  What is clear is that while people understand their own areas really well, they often have little or limited understanding of other areas.


Reason 3: The Reward Structures


Pay scales have many benefits.  The downside of them is that they don’t necessarily allow pay structures that actively support team working.  While this is not unique to the NHS, it does mean that there is no incentive, at least in financial terms to work with others.


Reason 4: Lack of Understanding


I am often surprised just how little understanding people have on how to get the best from teams.  Clearly those at the top of organisations have a role to play.  At the same time, everyone has a role to play in getting the best from teams.


Goals and Achievements help healthcare organisations to achieve more success through effective team working.  Learn more here.