A Wasted Opportunity in the Waiting Room!
“Once a manager always a manager.” Well that’s me anyway. I don’t know if it was my training as a young man, or my general frustration with life, but wherever I go I am looking for more efficient ways of doing things. As a management consultant, it was how I earned my living, but had no particular training. My skills seemed to develop as my experience increased.
I firmly believed that not only would the service user’s benefit, from improvement, but so would the staff. Things seemed to work that way, as I rarely had engagement issues from my colleagues. My view was that if employees were working in an effective and productive manner, that would then reflect in the service we were providing for customers.
Recently I have been involved in planning some changes at my hospital. The old oncology waiting room was cramped, and the facilities were poor. As you can imagine, several years of campaigning were done, and eventually a new space within the hospital was found. Fantastic, new rooms for consultants, and a larger, fresher, and brighter waiting room for the patients. Everyone was happy when the new space opened.
I had stated in past discussions, that unless previous systems were also changed, the problems that were encountered in the old waiting room, would also occur in the new one. Of course everyone was congratulating themselves on producing the building work, and system management was ignored. The result being that now the new room is full of patients, looking confused, as their waiting time increases, and the staff of course look pressured, and do not truly reflect the wonderful care you receive when you eventually get seen.
Having waited more than one hour over my allocated time to be seen, I then needed to get some medication and was greeted by a one hour delay sign at the pharmacy! I am a regular patient and am well known in the hospital, so bit my tongue. However, I told the very polite young man who apologised to me, that if it were a shop I would have demanded to see the manager, and by choice would not shop there at all.
Within the health service you rarely see a manager, ironically, unless you write in and complain. I see no support for frontline staff, from managers paid to manage. The many managers I have met seemed to have attained that title, by staying in the organisation a long time. Not because they can manage people.
The key to an efficient service is effective management. As my very recent example shows that of course, the environment is very important, but unless the management is good, the systems will very quickly collapse. Producing poor staff morale quickly followed by lack of efficient customer service.