Our Values

Do organisations need values and do we need to be able to say what those values are to deliver high quality care? 

I have observed that many healthcare workers have a natural cynicism about NHS Trusts developing a set of stated values. It is one of those “soft” management ideas that distracts from what clinicians should be doing. Does writing your values on the Trust Website make you a better trust? Absolutely not. However, all of us would rather that our families were treated by an organisation whose values were focussed on providing the best patient care and which lived up to those values. Values are not about some well-meaning words just printed on stationary but actually about what we believe and how that shapes the way in which we deliver care.

I have seen many examples across the organisation of staff delivering high quality care to patients and service users; you can see immediately the values of the staff. When I read the outcomes of complaints I also see examples were we have not delivered care in keeping with our values as an organisation. I do think that it is a critically important component of our functioning, as a high quality healthcare provider, that we have a shared set of values and that we actively use them to shape the care that we provide.

The next time you go to a clinical area in the organisation ask yourself if I came here for the first time, what would I think the values of the organisation were? It can be a thought provoking exercise, because it can capture what we are doing well but also where we could improve. Our values (to be caring, respectful and inclusive)are part of our culture, and in the end culture trumps everything.

Dr Kevin Cleary Medical Director and Director for Quality and Performance 11 August 2015 4 comment(s)

Comments

  • andrew george, 11/08/2016

    Sorry , but honestly i cant understand much of what is being said by ELFT staff these days. I find it to be "gobbledgook" waffle !! May i suggest you all go back to speaking "plain' and 'simple'Queens English. I read the passage by Dr Kevin Cleary, but i couldnt grasp what he was trying to say. I was brought up under the 'rule' KIS, keep it simple. Yours respectfully Andrew George


  • andrew george, 11/08/2016

    Sorry , but honestly i cant understand much of what is being said by ELFT staff these days. I find it to be "gobbledgook" waffle !! May i suggest you all go back to speaking "plain' and 'simple'Queens English. I read the passage by Dr Kevin Cleary, but i couldnt grasp what he was trying to say. I was brought up under the 'rule' KIS, keep it simple. Yours respectfully Andrew George


  • Pelle, 25/11/2015

    HI, Rita,I am already a mmeber, signed up for and working in the Net Like a Lacemaker class. I am not sure why I have the message saying I have not confirmed my mmebership, but I will check my email to see if I have a confirmation email message there.Thank you so much for putting these classes on line. I CAN'T WAIT for the one on circular netting to become available, as that is where my sister and I have become stuck in our netting.Best wishes, always,Ruth H. Johnson


  • Michael Barker, 19/08/2015

    Kevin, Great post, thank you. I completely agree with your observations about the 'value of values'. Culture certainly trumps everything, especially when organisations are trying to define or deliver strategies. Peter Drucker put it succinctly when he said: 'culture eats strategy for breakfast'. I would add the following, from my experience, to your observations: - values are about holding each other to account for the way that you behave on a daily basis and behaviour should be assessed in performance reviews. Crucially, this applies to Board and Exec management as much as it does to staff at the coal-face; organisations need to let their staff know that this is not a top-down directive to behave in a certain way but that they will also be able to hold their leaders to account for not being 'caring, inclusive and respectful' (or whatever the values of the organisation are) - culture is often set as a mandated goal and yet it is, by nature, a moving feast which staff have to constantly keep in their sights. There are small but effective things that need to be done in a consistent manner to shape the culture of an organisation beyond values - PURPOSE is always the missing ingredient here. Organisations easily articulate missions and values but purpose is something different. It is WHY we exist, not what we do. It has the power to distinguish organisations from the rest and it forces them to be 'outside-in' and truly focused on their customers and patients. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts. Michael (www.Saffronsteer.com)


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