Mind The Gap: Why Togetherness Is So Important

Dear Colleague

I'd like to start this week by mentioning two departments I visited last week. I was fortunate to be able to attend the early morning handover meeting for both Medicine and Orthopaedics. Interestingly there are some similarities between them, not least in the pressures each are facing from the emergency stream of patients who get admitted each week. Balancing their workforce with this flow of patients is a real headache for both teams and it is a topic we will be exploring with them over the next few weeks.

I'm also delighted to now have a full Medical Director team. I am really looking forward to working together with them.

Last week we held our timeout as planned and next week I will share some of the headlines from the discussions. One of the issues we explored was that although we all know we are here to serve our patients, we can occasionally lose sight of this when we get really busy, or when people make differing demands of us.

We talked about how it is important if this happens to "Mind the Gap". We agreed that we need to be especially careful to Mind the Gap when we are in these kinds of situations;

  1. When clinicians are talking with managers. While managers and clinicians have different responsibilities and may approach a situation from alternative perspectives, we must remember we are all members of the same team and want the same thing – to deliver the best service to our patients. If difficulties arise, we should explore why this is happening. Usually we will find it is simply because we are looking at the same problem through different eyes.
  2. When doctors are talking with other non-medical clinicians. Patients in a hospital are under the care of a named doctor and the doctor is responsible for diagnosing and organising treatment. However the whole clinical team must come together to ensure the treatment is delivered as expected. If doctors and other clinicians misunderstand each other, the patient might not get the best treatment. It is vital that all members of the clinical team are able to clarify the plan and if necessary check their mutual understanding.
  3. When clinicians are talking with patients. Patients are usually not able to judge whether the treatment they are being offered is in line with the evidence of what works best. They are well equipped to judge how that treatment is being provided – whether it is done kindly, with compassion and whether they are being helped to understand what is planned. 
  4. When support departments are talking with clinical departments. Support departments keep the engine of the hospital well-oiled so that the hospital always works smoothly. Keeping the support departments well connected to the clinical services means that they will understand each other better and avoid small problems turning into big ones. 
  5. When Al Wakra Hospital teams are talking with Corporate teams. Although we all work for the same Corporation (HMC) it can sometimes feel that there is more than one way of looking at an issue. This might depend on whether you are looking at it from a facility (hospital) or a corporate standpoint. When this happens, we must explore why we have these differing perspectives and then work hard to join things up .

Let's see what we can all do in the weeks ahead to Mind the Gap, remembering at all times why we are here and what matters most.

For now, let me wish you and your family good health and happiness for the week ahead.

Best Wishes