Author: Mark Greenfield

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.

Shifting cultures, developing people, more than a process!

Chelsea and Westminster NHS Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are implementing a new Performance and Development Review (PDR) process. The Trust has developed a clear policy and Healthskills were invited to shape a development day to focus on the new approach and to enable managers to ‘re-energise’ their engagement with staff. Aligning and motivating the workforce to deliver business objectives within the challenging context of the NHS is important work. Valuing the workforce in the fast pace targeted acute environment can be forgotten unless we pay attention to ‘ourselves and relationships’.

Healthskills worked in collaboration with the senior OD staff at the Trust to provide an engaging day to develop the confidence and capabilities of more than 500 managers to undertake the PDR. We aimed to support managers to understand the process but more importantly focus their energies on the individual staff member and their work within teams and the organisation. Clarity of performance expectations and delivery but also to creatively consider how development opportunities could be explored and targeted.

Chelsea and Westminster NHS Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Performance and Development Review (PDR) process - MOTIVATION - ENHANCING AUTONOMY, ENHANCING BELONGING, ENHANCING COMPETENCY, ENHANCING MEANING

Source:Based on Ryan & Deci, 2000 Thomas, 2009


Our day explored how managers could refresh and develop their skills; communicating well, giving and receiving feedback, and in summary exploring how good coaching skills can help shift cultures. We created a safe and fun learning environment with a range of approaches supported by clear theoretical models. The outcomes of our work was well received:

‘Excellent standard of teaching; pitched at correct level and information well delivered’
‘Session was well run and both were engaging and interacted well with the group’
‘Training on understanding my role really helps to enable me to work efficiently’
‘Made me think of about of departmental and team goals and how this may impact on employees PDRs’

The initial outcomes of our work are positive. We hope we have left managers with ‘growth’ mindsets to begin to shift how they work as individuals and in teams at the Trust. The Trust have begun a positive journey as a result of the passion and commitment of senior OD staff at the Trust, the collaborative approach with Healthskills and the commitment from managers to change. The work in the Trust is ongoing.

Healthskills launch a new training programme to support Lambeth and Southwark CCGs

Healthskills has just launched a new multi-disciplinary training programme to support staff in the delivery of the Local Care Network (LCN) Coordination Care Pathway at Lambeth and Southwark CCGs. 120 local leaders will be undertaking a series of learning modules, action learning sets, simulations and reflective practice over the next six months to improve their confidence, skills and knowledge at implementing coordinated care. Over the last 18 months, Lambeth and Southwark LCNs have worked together to co-design and deliver this new approach to place based care coordination for adults with multiple long-term conditions. We are really looking forward to this ground-breaking and progressive partnership over the coming months.