"Thank you Syngentis for an excellent final report – you have been an immense help with formulating our ideas about how Barts can deliver a world class OH service."
The Health and Work Challenge
Following the merger of three major acute Trusts in 2012, the delivery of occupational health services was disjointed. Changes in the personnel responsible for leading and managing the occupational health team and high levels of staff turnover had resulted in a loss of strategic direction. In addition, the occupational health service had a low profile within the Trust. Furthermore, there were some concerns about the standards of care that were being offered to staff – for example the amount of time they had to wait for appointments.
Barts employs 15,000 staff and the Trust sees transforming the health of the population and substantially reducing inequalities in health as being at the heart of their vision. Improving and promoting staff health and wellbeing has been shown to have a direct impact on improving patient care and is a key component in realising their vision.
Barts took a proactive approach and decided they needed to undertake a strategic review of their occupational health and wellbeing services. The merger also provided a timely opportunity to consider whether the occupational health team could expand its commercial activities. The revenue from this area had declined in recent years and the Trust wanted to know if it could leverage its brand, location and premises to optimise opportunities in this area.
Syngentis undertook a complete review of the service with the aim of providing specific recommendations to drive the future strategy for the occupational health and associated wellbeing services.
Drawing on their in depth knowledge of current Government guidelines and policy, the Syngentis team also considered local priorities and ensured that any recommendations aligned with the Board’s overall strategic direction.
Using a variety of tools to assess the current position of Barts occupational health service and its recent performance, Syngentis engaged with local stakeholders and assessed a wide range of activity and performance data and information including the results of the Barts staff survey. Having access to data from MoHaWK (the clinical benchmarking tool) and STEM (the business pricing benchmarking tool) meant they could benchmark Barts key performance indicators against NHS occupational health services nationally.
Syngentis also looked in detail at the funding arrangements for the occupational health service, the service level agreement and the structure of the team. The work included an assessment of the national and local market for occupational health and where the key opportunities were for Barts to grow the commercial part of the business.
Barts was provided with a detailed report outlining a clear vision and future strategic direction for the occupational health service. The report provides 34 specific detailed recommendations around the vision for their future occupational health services, optimisation of income generation, service provision and future staffing. A clear timetable with the ‘next step actions’ is included.
The Barts team were delighted with the final report. Within the first two months of receiving the report the Barts team has actioned a number of the recommendations, developed a plan and already achieved successes and seen some specific improvements. Barts plan to use the report to influence at Board level. Since receiving the report Barts have already reviewed the management structure and implemented a rapid access and rehabilitation policy to enable GPs and OH to refer staff to enable a speedy return to work.
The longer-term outcomes will be proven over time as Barts measure their performance using a variety of indicators and use the Syngentis tools to benchmark against others. Syngentis will keep in touch with the Barts team and report on these in the future.
Michael Pantlin, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Barts:
“This piece of work has provided Barts with a clear strategic direction and action plan that will enable us to prioritise and improve our employees health and wellbeing. There is good evidence that access to good occupational health support enhances staff engagement and has a direct impact on patient care.”