How can promoting a positive NHS culture promote an increased quality of patient care?

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The National Health Service is the universal medical care provider for residents of the UK. The principles it was originally developed upon ensured the service was provided free to meet everyone’s clinical need (NHS, 2013). This ethos is still at the core of its delivery, but additional principles have been added to its constitution to improve quality standards and to provide the public with rights as an NHS patient (Department of Health, 2012). Thus, for health professionals and the wider NHS workforce to achieve these principles, the patient needs to be central to the delivery of their healthcare. Therefore, the focus of this essay will be to explore the relationship between a positive NHS culture and increased quality of patient care. In this essay the phrase ‘positive NHS culture’ has two definitions: 1) its internal organisational structure and the working environments of staff 2) the public and patients’ perception and experiences of the NHS as service users. Due to the limited word count of this essay, the following factors will only be discussed: multi-disciplinary working, patient engagement and the role of the media. Within an organisation, a positive work culture is the key to successful delivery to its customers, clients, service users or patients. An inclusive workplace is constantly promoted by governing bodies, trade unions and human resource professionals because it allows for greater happiness to be achieved at work through the creation of a positive working environment (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010). This is because when professionals are respected and their skills are valued, they feel a sense of autonomy and purpose (West et al, 2011). Furthermore, this supportive environment can create trusting relationships amongst colleagues, which can result in a positive internal work culture. Oppositely, within an organisation where there is a lack of respect and trust, the service of the quality being delivered can become compromised. For example, cases have been identified where clinicians did not trust the medical judgments of fellow clinicians and this resulted in clinical assessments being repeated on patients (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, 2010). This mistrust can result in creating more worry for the patient, a negative relationship between clinicians, an increased waiting time for the result of the assessment and possibly delaying NHS services to another patient and wasting NHS money. It can be argued that this critical approach by one clinician can ensure the diagnosis of a patient is correct; however as the UK has a high standard in its medical education progammes, the knowledge of another clinician should be respected. Also, there are other processes to ensure the diagnosis and treatment/care of the patient is suitable and of a high quality through regular discussions with allied health professionals who have been trained in a varied way to meet specific service areas. This allows alternative methods and treatments to be discussed and leads to better quality decisions on patient care (Borrill et al, 2002). Multi-disciplinary working is essential for a large organisation like the NHS, who aim to provide healthcare for everyone regardless of what health and well-being support or treatment is needed by the patient (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement,

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