Author: Mark Greenfield

Congratulations to Alwen Williams

Healthskills is delighted to offer our congratulations and warm wishes to Alwen Williams, Chief Executive at Barts Health NHS Trust who became a Dame in the New Year Honours List 2021, honouring her 40 years of service to the NHS. Healthskills worked extensively with Dame Alwen and her team prior to her appointment at Barts, supporting the development of outstanding leadership in Tower Hamlets.

Supporting organisational development with the Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs

Healthskills were commissioned in early 2020 to support the four CCGs in the Black Country and West Birmingham as they form a single collaborative commissioning organisation.  Mark, Dawn and the team are currently providing executive team development, supporting staff with Managing Change and Interview workshops, and shaping the organisational development strategy for the next two years.  We are thoroughly enjoying working with such skilled and energised leaders and being part of a long-term collaboration to make an impact on reducing health inequalities.

Supporting you and your staff right now

Healthskills has been supporting you and your teams for many years now, and in these incredibly challenging and difficult times when everyone is anxious and time-strapped, it is even more critical to treat each other with compassion and kindness. Here in a few words, is how Healthskills can help you, your teams and your staff right now:

  • First, an obvious point to say, that we have waived cancellation charges for any scheduled Healthskills interventions that have had to be postponed during this crisis;
  • If you or your team need a 30-minute coaching conversation to provide practical support about how to manage your resilience, your teams, or simply some headspace to think during this crisis, then please let me know.  You can contact me on 07771 655382 or .  These sessions will be free of charge, and my Healthskills colleagues and I have all committed to provide at least one day a week for this, for however long is necessary;
  • Facilitated ‘Team Check-ins’ for leadership teams can be incredibly powerful when you are under such pressure currently. These can be virtual, for up to 8 people, and can provide thinking space to focus on what’s working, what could be better and provide a solutions focus for ways forward;
  • One-to-one coaching sessions for up to 90 minutes on Skype, Zoom or MS Teams (for example) are formidable vehicles for personal reflection on behaviours and actions during change, and the Healthskills Coaching team is on standby to support you;
  • We have cancelled all face to face workshops until further notice and are able to provide alternative online / virtual solutions to support you immediately.  An example is our 90 minute Personal Resilience workshop for up to 8 participants online, where you can understand what resilience is, how to become more personally resilient and how to support colleagues to be more resilient;
  • All of the comprehensive Healthskills suite of workshops, action learning set meetings, staff engagement sessions and diagnostic tools are available virtually so that despite the enormous pressures on your staff currently, where development and support is critical, we can offer a range of solutions;

Finally, if you don’t see the learning, training or development answer to your issues above, then please get in touch with me.  Each client has unique challenges as a result of this crisis and we are working with you all to find different virtual ways to support you.

With best wishes to stay well and positive


Mark Greenfield
Managing Director, Healthskills

Congratulations to leaders at Chelsea and Westminster NHS FT

Healthskills is delighted to congratulate leaders at Chelsea and Westminster NHS FT for their latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings, which show that the Trust is well-led, and offers safe, caring, responsive and effective services.  For Well-Led, the CQC rated the Trust as ‘Outstanding’. Inspectors highlighted that the Trust is an organisation with a clear vision for what it wants to achieve, which has been developed with staff, patients, and key groups representing the local community. The Trust has been commended for having a leading role in the development and improvement of services across North West London. Inspectors found there was a ‘no blame’ culture and mistakes were regarded as opportunities for learning and improvement.

Healthskills has been collaborating ChelWest since 2016, with our co-designed and facilitated multi-professional ‘Established Leaders’ development programme, supporting over 150 senior clinical and non-clinical leaders, to develop consistent leadership behaviours, aligned to Trust strategic priorities and with a quality improvement project focus.

Happy Christmas

Healthskills wish all our clients, programme participants and leaders everywhere a very Happy Christmas and best wishes at this festive time.

We have greatly enjoyed working with you all this year, helping you to develop your leadership muscles, accelerate the fitness of your teams from front line to Boards, and providing supportive, challenging and empowering coaching for hundreds of individuals.

Thank you for continuing to support Healthskills for over twenty years now, and we look forward to working with you again in 2020. Here’s hoping that the New Year will bring health and happiness for you all.

As in previous years we are donating to a local charity instead of sending Christmas cards. For 2019, Healthskills is delighted to support Jasmine House, a rape crisis centre in Leicester: Jasmine House has been providing high quality therapeutic services for over thirty years. It is run by an all-female team of trustees, staff and volunteers and provides a safe space where women and girls can access free and confidential services following any form of sexual violence either recently or in the past.


In the week of #WorldMentalHealthDay, Healthskills is playing a small part along with thousands of other organisations to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.  Our work coaching leaders and teams to improve their Organisational Health has highlighted that often basic communication skills such as learning how to give and receive constructive feedback, encouraging praise and recognising small wins, and empowering others to act are often the key to helping individuals with resilience and resourcefulness.

Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. They have already reached millions of people and begun to improve attitudes and behaviour.  They offer excellent advice to end mental health discrimination and help organisations improve staff mental wellbeing, and I make no apology for repeating this here:

Your mental wellbeing at work

  • Take your breaks: a change of scene and fresh air
  • Don’t bottle things up: ask for help if you need it
  • Celebrate achievement: don’t just focus on what you haven’t done
  • Work-life balance: make time for non-work activities and meeting friends
  • In-house support: what wellbeing support is available at work?

Looking out for others at work

  • Avoid working in a silo: be mindful of others’ pressures
  • How are you?: take time to ask others how they are
  • Look out for changes: if someone is not quite themselves
  • One to ones: include mental wellbeing in catch-ups
  • Be informed: look into mental health awareness training

Remember that mental health can affect anyone and statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. No one should have to fear being treated differently because of a mental health problem so make the advice from Time to Change part of your cultural shift to ‘the way we do things around here’.

For more information and access to the Time To Change resources and to get your workplace involved in the discussion follow this link.


Civility Saves Lives

Chris Turner

I had a really great experience eating a meal in a pub with my elderly mum a few weeks ago. Apart from the fact that the food was delicious and well-priced, what made a difference was that the staff were terrific – polite, attentive, informed in helping us choose and being particularly patient with mum’s indecision.  Not for the first time I was struck by the impact that great manners and taking a genuine interest in others can have to deliver a very rewarding experience.

This reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a Medical Director at an NHS hospital trust, and his enthusiasm for the increasing evidence base showing that civility between colleagues can greatly improve patient care and save lives.

Put simply, if someone is rude to us at work, even if this is mild to moderate, and not extreme, research shows that our bandwidth to complete our tasks can be reduced by up to 61%.  As we can often feel powerless and even humiliated, this reduction in our performance can have an enduring impact throughout the day.  Furthermore, when an incident of rudeness or incivility occurs in teams, there is a collateral impact on other team members: a 20% reduction in team performance and a 50% drop in willingness to help others.

This has a major influence on how teams work and deliver.  Research from Riskin and Erez (The Impact of Rudeness on Medical Team Performance; Pediatrics; September 2015) shows that the single most important fact that determines the output of medical teams is how they treat each other.

So, if there is now strong evidence that when we work with someone who is civil and treats us with respect, we feel empowered and encouraged to work at our best, and the reverse is undoubtedly true, what is our challenge as leaders?  Maybe it starts with saying please and thank you routinely? Asking your colleague about their weekend, and holidays at this time of year? Avoiding rolling our eyes if someone continues to repeat things you’ve heard before? Tackling unacceptable behaviours in others proactively rather than expending wasted efforts going around them?

I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of Chris Turner and Civility Saves Lives – a project with a mission to promote positive behaviours and share the evidence base around positive and negative behaviours  A fascinating TEDx talk by Chris Turner from June this year can be seen here:

HSJ Partnership Awards 2019

Had a great night at the HSJ Partnership Awards, with our peers and partners, celebrating effective partnerships with the NHS to improve patients’ lives through innovation and exceptional dedication to top quality service. We are so proud to have been shortlisted with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for the Best Educational Programme for the NHS award.

Well done to Sussex MSK Partnership (Central), Here (Care Unbound) and Sussex Community FT – a worthy winner with a great, patient centred-project.

Healthskills clients in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list

In the NHS’s 70th year, we are thrilled to see that two of our Healthskills NHS clients have been recognised in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list, for their tremendous work. Paul Woodrow, Director of Operations at London Ambulance Service has been awarded the OBE for his leading role in coordinating the emergency responses for victims of the London Bridge terror attack and the Grenfell fire. Margaret Kitching, chief nurse for the North Region, NHS England was awarded the MBE for services to nursing. Healthskills sends our warmest regard to both.

2018 HSJ Awards

We are delighted to congratulate Lesley Watts, Chief Executive at Chelsea and Westminster FT on her 2018 HSJ Award as Chief Executive of the Year. The awards judgement said that “Lesley showed truly outstanding, engaging and sensitive leadership of the trust and her work with partner organisations to deliver improved performance and patient outcomes.” Lesley has been a really visible and proactive sponsor of the Healthskills leadership development programme at the Trust, where we have been successfully working with over 100 leaders since 2016. We would also like to congratulate Newham CCG on their award for Community or Primary Care Services Redesign. Healthskills has been a partner with Newham CCG since 2016, supporting talent management and succession planning with development centres, skills training and leadership programmes. We greatly value our collaboration with both organisations and look forward to continued success in the months ahead.