Back in March last year we launched a new Single Point of Access (we call it a SPA) for Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, bringing together colleagues from different areas of the administration service to form a central team.
It was a difficult journey because the SPA was completely new. We were bringing together a new service in a new system, a new phone line and a new online referral form. The team was suddenly faced with answering calls from parents and GPs for services that they had never come across before, so they had to learn on the spot.
I can’t describe how exhausting the process was. Of course, we had teething issues as with any new project but we worked really hard to get the SPA working well. As with any transformation project, things change every day and we were adjusting to it as we went – when something didn’t go to plan we looked for a better way of doing it, and sometimes that involved changing direction very quickly.
It was important to make sure everyone understood our vision for the service, which is to have a better, more joined-up service for the children of Wiltshire. With this kind of project, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives, so every time we had good feedback I would really celebrate that. So, I would share any praise that came in from people accessing the service with the whole team.
I was nominated for a Feel the Difference award by several members of the team for always managing them in a positive and resilient way. I find this approach is the best way to get the best out of people – I’ve always got time for them, and I will listen to them and encourage them. You need to make sure everyone feels valued.
Sometimes it’s hard work to be that kind of manager all the time – it is quite draining, but you never want to say no. When people ask me to help with something I always make sure I smile and say: “Yes of course I can.” It was nice to get that feedback because it shows hard work does pay off.
We’re still improving the SPA, but the project has made significant progress. The team were wonderful and they really embraced the challenge. The SPA wouldn’t work if we weren’t a team, it is not the kind of job where you come in and have your own workload – we have to support each other. They are a fabulous group of people to work with.
A happy team delivers better outcomes. Our people director Samantha writes on our blog today about what we’ve done to ensure we have a happy team.
Brian Kinsella is Clinical Lead and Clinical Nurse Continence Specialist in East Staffordshire. Over the last 18 months, Brian and Learning Disability Nurse Steph Brinklow, have been visiting care and assisted living homes together, educating staff about continence issues and helping to change the lives of people they care for.
Much has been written and said about the procurement process which the NHS in Surrey ran back in 2016 to find the best organisation to deliver vital children’s services until 2022. A lot of what has been written is misleading or misinformed, and all of it has lost the key point: a procurement process is meant to be about picking the right provider – a principle we agree with.
Carmen has been with Virgin Care since the company began its partnership with the NHS in the area in May 2017, stepping up from nurse practitioner to clinical lead nurse a little over 12 months ago. She works across the Skelmersdale and Ormskirk sites, splitting her time between clinical practice and managerial work.