Why Teamwork Makes Hospitals Tick


Dear Colleague

As usual I have been out and about visiting departments across the hospital this week. I had a tour round all of our outpatient areas from top to bottom and learnt about how this "front door" to the hospital is working to serve our patients.

I also had a fascinating visit organised by the Dietetic team, where I spent time with the catering team and the dieticians, learning about the complex task involved in ensuring that our patients are properly nourished each day.

One of the best things about hospital life is that we are all members of a single team, each of us making our own contribution to serving the patients who attend the hospital. That is everyone, not just the doctors, midwives, nurses and allied health professionals. We all make a difference every day, no matter what we do.

Imagine we were responsible for running a famous restaurant. Imagine that we received 1400 customers every day. We would be proud that our restaurant attracted so many customers each day and we would feel that our business was booming.

Well that's what we do each day. We prepare and deliver 1400 meals each day. Each meal is provided from a menu which has been carefully and expertly prepared to ensure it has just the right nutritional components.

Nearly all of our meals are "take-away" in that patients don't come to our restaurant, we take the food to them. It must be hot and tasty and it must also be provided in accordance with the choice each patient made.

Additionally, we must also be sure that the ingredients are well sourced and fresh, that produce is within date, then cleaned and prepared properly.

Finally we must deliver special meals to patients who a dietary need which is an important part of their overall treatment.

The work the catering and dietetic team do together blends the clinical with manufacturing, and hospitality expertise. The patients don't know about this, they just expect us to keep getting it right day after day, meal after meal. 

And we do.

So as we go about our day, let's try and remember that whatever we do, and whoever we are, each of us is making our own unique contribution to safe, high quality and effective care. That's what good teams are all about. Each member does the job assigned to them to the best of their ability. Team members respect the job that each must do.

Respect for one another's contribution in the service of safe, high quality and effective care is one of the ways I believe that good hospitals become great. 

How can you ensure that everyone in your team knows that's what you believe too?

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

Best wishes