The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested that senior doctors should be more readily recognised through the honours system.
Hunt hopes to prioritise the number of ‘gongs’ being handed out to senior doctors, alongside the proliferation of awards ceremonies for outstanding achievement in the health service.
Indeed, the second in command at the Department of Health has already spoken on the subject, outlining the belief of the Health Secretary that this could help improve morale among senior figures in the NHS.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, health minister Philip Dunne suggested that this sort of recognition could effectively be self-motivating for staff.
Delegates at the UK2020 panel discussion on building an NHS fit for an independent UK witnessed the speech of Dunne, in which he suggested that the health service has been neglected somewhat in this department previously.
“I do think we need to try to recognise outstanding achievement within the health service, as I understand it that’s another priority of the secretary of state. He wants to see more senior clinicians recognised through all sorts of different systems, through the honours system. I was at our local hospital on Friday, and the new chief exec of the hospital trust had arranged an awards ceremony for the staff, that’s the first time that had ever happened in that trust”.
Dunne also indicated his belief that this is normal in other industrial stratas, and that the health service could learn from the conduct of other industrial bodies.
“It seems extraordinary, it’s absolutely standard practice across most other industries: people’s achievement is recognised. We need to do more of that to raise the status, and self motivation of the staff”.
There will naturally be criticism and scepticism of such an idea, with many healthcare professionals believing that this is a nebulous concern that merely distracts attention away from the core values and issues in the NHS.
Indeed, Dr Fiona Payne, a former NHS GP turned private doctor and CQC specialist advisor, suggested that doctors are simply focused on treating patients better and more quickly.
Meanwhile, Dunne also spoken on changes being proposed by the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’.
These are the blueprints for the future of the health service that are currently being developed across England.
Duncan believes that these are an excellent idea, and should be more respected by the healthcare community.
“Politicians will recognise that this is a good idea, where proposals are to change bricks and mortar, inevitably it’s likely to concern the public that they’re losing a cherished facility. I’ve been in plenty of buildings in the last three months that were constructed over 100 years ago, and I’m not sure they’re necessarily the ideal way to provide care in the future”.