Headlines: March 23rd, 1998

NHS Staff are to be empowered by having a greater say in improving patient services in the health service. A task force made up of nurses, doctors and a porter will advise Ministers on how greater involvement the one million staff can contribute to raising standards.Health Minister Alan Milburn said the task force would play an important role in unlocking the untapped potential in the NHS. He is looking to them to find ways in which front line staff can work with local managers to improve the way care is delivered in 1200 hospitals.

The 13 member task force is drawn from a cross section of the health service and includes a porter, nurses and doctors. It also has managers, a union national officer, an academic and a representative from outside industry. Their prime task will be to explore new approaches to staff involvement and examples of good practice within the NHS and elsewhere. The search for ideas will include private sector organisations that have developed successful staff-management partnerships and have involved staff in decision-making,

Both the Minister and local managers are looking for benefits from this initiative. The Minister will receive a report on best practice on staff involvement and advice on devising a performance management framework. The framework will be used to assess how well NHS Trusts are involving their staff. Trusts and Health Authorities will receive suggestions on how to improve the process of sharing best practice and good ideas.

The outcome of the Task Forces’ work will form the basis for a conference in the autumn on the development of staff involvement programmes throughout the NHS.