People are leaving the National Health Service (NHS) in droves.
There is widespread discontent amongst staff. Not just physicians, but the whole gamut of healthcare providers.
Yesterday I wrote about how paying people more and more is not the solution to getting them to be more productive. It is also not the way to retain staff and get them to be loyal to an organisation.
Really, it’s about letting people have autonomy, letting them develop their skills (“mastery”) and giving them the chance to have purpose.
As a doctor I do not have autonomy. My life consists of ticking boxes – getting enough assessments, passing exams, getting my licence revalidated, keeping up to date with life support protocols, keeping my e-portfolio up to date, meeting my supervisors twice every rotation, presenting cases to colleagues, taking part in teaching…… the list is endless. Keep in mind that all of the above is compulsory! I simply cannot continue to practice medicine without doing the above as I would be struck off of the medical register.
As a doctor I argue that I am not able to achieve “mastery” in what I want. A lot of physicians truly love what they are doing. Most surgeons truly love operating and during their time in theatre they are at one with themselves and are truly happy. However, there are a lot of us who feel that we cannot develop in the way that we want to. In my case, I am trying my hardest to get my first healthcare start up going, but the NHS simply is not a place that is a breeding ground for innovation and entrepreneurship, even though a lot of workers on the floor have some fantastic ideas and know-how. Often innovators are met with confused looks and fear. Most of us end up leaving the NHS for this reason and end up working in the private sector.
As a doctor I do not have purpose. Again, because the NHS does not allow its workers to flourish in the way that they want to. Instead of doing what we are good at and what we want to do and have passion for, the NHS is hell bent on getting all of its workers to keep ticking those boxes.
People are leaving the NHS.
It’s obvious to see why. But the organisation continues to self-flagellate.