A set of “core principles” for all staff employed by the Welsh health service has been unveiled, including a pledge to “value all who work for the NHS”.
The six principles are intended to be the foundation of how staff should work across and within NHS Wales, said health and social services minister Professor Mark Drakeford.
“The principles will demonstrate how the ‘Welsh way’ of working in partnership can benefit everyone who works or uses the service”
They have been developed in partnership by ministers, unions and the organisation NHS Employers.
As well as focusing on delivering the “best possible care”, they also place an emphasis on wellbeing and preventative healthcare and supporting continuing professional development for staff.
Launching the Core Principles for the NHS in Wales, Professor Drakeford said he wanted them to become “integral” to the way the NHS in Wales worked.
“There are more people working in the Welsh NHS today then there were 10 years ago and each and every member of staff is key to ensuring the NHS remains one of the most trusted and cherished institutions Wales has,” he said.
“These principles should remain at the core of how the NHS in Wales functions on a daily basis”
He added: “These principles will be owned by everyone connected to the NHS in Wales, especially the staff, who already embody them; whether it is putting their patients first, learning from their experiences or pulling together as teams.”
Dawn Bowden, head of health at Unison Cymru Wales, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the introduction of these core principles. The application of these principles will apply across every health board and trust and will demonstrate how the ‘Welsh way’ of working in partnership can benefit everyone who works or uses the service.”
Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, said she was “proud” to support the principles, which she described as a set of “fundamental values that underpin the work” of the NHS in Wales.
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“High-quality healthcare should be strengthened by excellent standards of governance in order to ensure the health and safety of both patients and staff are safeguarded,” she said.
“These principles should remain at the core of how the NHS in Wales functions on a daily basis if we are to guarantee a service that healthcare workers are proud to deliver and care that patients are grateful to receive,” she added.
Richard Tompkins, director of NHS Wales Employers, said the principles would support work already underway by health boards to develop workplace cultures based on shared values and behaviours for all staff.
“They will support improved communication between colleagues, the development of better employment policies and help with timely responses and solutions to situations that might arise within the workplace,” he said.
The core principles in full are:
- We put patients and users of our services first: We work with the public and patients/service users through co-production, doing only what is needed, no more, no less and trying to avoid harm. We are honest, open, empathetic and compassionate. We ensure quality and safety above all else by providing the best care at all times
- We seek to improve our care: We care for those with the greatest health need first, making the most effective use of all skills and resources and constantly seeking to fit the care and services we provide to users’ needs. We integrate improvement into everyday working, by being open to change in all that we do, which also reduces harm and waste
- We focus on wellbeing and prevention: We strive to improve health and remove inequities by working together with the people of Wales so as to ensure their wellbeing now and in future years and generations
- We reflect on our experiences and learn: We invest in our learning and development. We make decisions that benefit patients and users of our services by appropriate use of the tools, systems and environments which enable us to work competently, safely and effectively. We actively innovate, adapt and reduce inappropriate variation whilst being mindful of the appropriate evidence base to guide us
- We work in partnership and as a team: We work with individuals including patients, colleagues, and other organisations; taking pride in all that we do, valuing and respecting each other, being honest and open and listening to the contribution of others. We aim to resolve disagreements effectively and promptly and we have a zero tolerance of bullying or victimization of any patient, service user or member of staff
- We value all who work for the NHS: We support all our colleagues in doing the jobs they have agreed to do. We will regularly ask about what they need to do their work better and seek to provide the facilities they need to excel in the care they give. We will listen to our colleagues and act on their feedback and concerns