Knowledge & Insight

The changing face of urgent and emergency care

Tue 26 August 2014

The challenges facing the NHS have changed radically over the past 25 years as an increase in chronic conditions and an ageing demographic have placed growing pressure on finite resources. Service provision and patient care have certainly evolved at pace during this time, yet in many respects they have failed to keep up with the needs of the population, and some senior clinicians argue that there is still too tight a focus on treatment rather than prevention.

Creating flexibility through training

One of the most pressing challenges facing the sector is the growth in demand for urgent and emergency care, and only by creating greater flexibility can providers hope to meet the heightened need for unscheduled treatment. To achieve the required step-change in operational flexibility, there must be a transformation in the way patients receive unscheduled care, which in turn calls for a flexible workforce with the ability to deliver services outside of the traditional hospital setting. In addition to meeting the needs of patients, this type of system would deliver enormous efficiencies. Yet to be implemented effectively, it would require a new approach to training and development.

Flexibility through multidisciplinary teams

There is growing recognition by healthcare leaders that the best way to facilitate this kind of flexibility is through the development of multidisciplinary teams that can deliver the appropriate mix of services whenever and wherever they are required. Current strategies that aim to equip clinicians with transferable skills must be strengthened, and staff should be supported with appropriate levels of back-up and supervision. A review of the way staff are deployed will also be required, with workforce planning co-ordinated at a national level. Changing patient pathways and redeploying staff to deliver home-based care could also help to ensure patients receive the best possible care without having to attend or stay in hospital.

Driving change and leading from the front

This transition to a more integrated and flexible service will require the support of all relevant professional bodies, government, local authorities, and of course, the clinicians responsible for delivering front-line care. It will also require the kind of leaders who can motivate their staff, devise innovative solutions to diverse challenges, and who have the vision to pre-empt future trends in healthcare requirements. To avoid continually playing catch-up, leaders must stay up-to-speed with changing social, demographic and lifestyle factors and anticipate how service provision must evolve so that the NHS is ready to meet changes in demand.

Healthcare executive search

In such a dynamic environment, NHS organisations need leaders with the ability to exert influence at a national level, with the vision to take bold decisions, and the drive to bring their senior stakeholders with them on the journey. Identifying and recruiting such individuals requires the services of specialist NHS headhunters. Stone Executive is an experienced healthcare executive search firm with a proven ability to identify, engage and attract the brightest talent in the sector. Our seasoned healthcare headhunters lead the way in NHS executive search, making Stone Executive one of the UK’s most successful and well-respected NHS executive search firms.

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