It’s not rocket science – you can do it!

Published: 26 June 2018 Ezine

At Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, the radiology department has made major improvements in the working environment which have in turn, led to improved morale among the staff and a whole fresh outlook on service delivery. Nicola Kennedy, Diagnostic Pathway General Manager told delegates how they did it and how anybody else could do it too.

“Nottingham has a very large and busy radiology department over two campuses, who see thousands of inpatients and outpatients per year. Demand is increasing year-on-year and felt quite overwhelming at one point. We realised that we had a problem with recruitment and retention, with vacancies peaking at 24% at one point, and that overall we needed to do things differently,” said Nicola.

The biggest thing that they focused on was recruitment and retention, with strong HR support being the key to a successful campaign in this area.

“We needed to recognise sooner that someone was leaving and tighten up the recruitment process, improving advertising and asking other departments for advice.

“We collaborated with Leicester and have sent staff abroad to interview potential candidates with great success, which has really bolstered the team.”

Other innovations included retention and recruitment payments for Band 6 staff; recruiting staff to work on new equipment before its arrival into the department; improving and developing a comprehensive training strategy across the board; refreshed induction and competency packages; more flexible shift patterns to suit staff needs; and undertaking structural changes across the whole department.

“We have set up operational management teams, which have, in turn, given strength to each modality. Analysts help with the figures – enabling us to see gaps and other work easily. We also have a Band 5 on rotation to MRI and CT which helps new staff get a taste of these areas.”

Key achievements

  • Vacancies 4%
  • Turnover 9.8% 
  • Sickness 2.8%
  • Consistent internal waits performance

Key benefits

  • Ongoing investment in staff training
  • Happier staff in the department
  • Staff have won national awards
  • Strong, supportive leaders
  • Happy patients
  • Overall reduced costs 

Plans for the future include achieving ISAS accreditation; seven day working; growing iMRI staff; developing preceptorships, replacing more scanners and even possibly adding staff to work in a treatment centre.

“It’s not rocket science, just common sense. We spent time on our people and we invested in our people, and it has really worked for us.”