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New report shines a light on “Working in the independent health sector”

Date of publication: 18th Dec 2020

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The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) has today published a new report looking for the first time at the experiences of the more than 85,000 staff working in the independent health sector.

Building on focus groups with staff working on the frontline in the sector, as well as leading HR Directors, the report looks at three key areas that the independent health sector has to “offer” to both current and prospective employers around “careers, control and culture”.

This mirrors the recent NHS People Plan’s focus on making the NHS the “best place to work”, and their development of an “offer” for staff setting out what they can expect working in the health service.

Reflections from staff working in the sector include:

  • significant value and importance is placed on individual employees’ careers and their personal development with substantial funding for learning and development in the sector, and organisations offer a variety of training opportunities to encourage employees to progress professionally.
  • the independent health sector is a place where you can simply “get on with the job” with staff feeling they have real ownership over their work, with the ability to make a difference and influence what goes on it their own organisations. This sense of control also enables staff to have a positive work-life balance, with flexibility in how they work.
  • Independent healthcare organisation have a ‘family feel’ – whatever their size independent providers place a strong emphasis on working  team-working, with visible leadership and the absence of any “culture of blame”.

The report from IHPN, the representative body for independent providers of both NHS and privately funded care, also looks at how covid19 has impacted on working in the independent health sector. In particular, the report looks at the recent partnership between the NHS and independent hospitals which has seen teams from both the NHS and independent working side by side to enable the delivery of vital NHS treatment throughout the pandemic. The success of these partnerships have been assisted by the agile and flexible workforce culture reported by staff working in the independent sector. Equally, the culture of respect, inclusion and collaboration in the independent sector is seen as having directly enabled organisations to be more nimble during the crisis.

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said:

“The covid19 pandemic has demonstrated just how critical all healthcare workers, including those in the independent sector, are in keeping our nation safe. And with longstanding workforce pressures across the whole of the healthcare system, the independent healthcare sector is keen to showcase the vital role they play in supporting and developing healthcare staff, and ultimately delivering the highest quality care to patients.

“I’m therefore delighted to be launching IHPN’s report which for the first time ever shines a light on the experiences of those frontline staff working in the independent health sector – where they can develop their career, have control over their work, and enjoy an inclusive, compassionate working culture and ultimately make a difference to millions of patients’ lives every year.”