Poor hospital 5It’s quite “interesting” to read the political rhetoric of the NHS, the statistics of an ageing population, changes in social care and responsibilities due to cuts to local authority budgets – all whilst experiencing the day to day of a mother with a broken pelvis and elbow who has gone from poorly to very ill because of the broken care path in which each person is stretched to the point where they treat the one thing in front of them and cannot treat the whole thing.

Degradation has not been for lack of care on behalf of anyone person, but for lack of capacity, systems, communications. Above all else what saves the day is individuals who have taken personal responsibility above their remit.

What causes the next day to be worse than the last, is the volume of work vs the capacity in the system. At each stage more & more capacity is required because the capacity wasn’t there earlier.

And the paying the private sector to fill in the gaps isn’t a solution  either as they are stretched beyond capacity too and the same individual dedication to go above and beyond is required.

When lack of capacity means someone is in pain and feels it’s getting worse not better then ‘customer’ experience takes on a new light, a focus and a sharpness.

I’ve run masterclasses before on ‘patient and carer’ experience for the NHS and worked with some of the management teams who have to run complex hospitals and businesses. The quality of people, the fabulous work and improvement skills are impressive. Walking in the customer’s shoes makes it all the more real.

So if you’re reading this and working in a complex commercial business, be it retail, online, contact centre or whatever, spare a thought for those that work in the NHS on the frontline. And those who do the management jobs to try and make the frontline work well.

Then imagine in your business that that there is a capacity plan which shows you don’t have enough capacity and you cannot have budget to increase capacity in line with demand.

Do you  a) move the capacity you do have into prevention, early interventions to prevent worsening situations? [ie avoid the need for services rather than meet the needs for services better]

Or b) use the capacity on the most urgent / worst cases?

Or c) use the capacity on the cases you can make most difference to and ignore the rest?

But remember the KPIs are pain, hope and death rates. So maybe your own hard day at the office is not so bad really.

PS if you’re wondering about the photograph, it’s a hospital in Bangalore. Looks a lot nicer than the one my mum’s just returned to.