Merco Perspectives - January 2022

Merco Perspectives January

Merco joined the Kings Fund yesterday to hear their thoughts on the wider UK health and care landscape in 2022 and discuss how the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could affect people working in the sector, patients, and the wider population.

There were many topics raised in this discussion such as the role of technology, the demand for Primary Care services to expand to meet the demands of mental health, local learning systems, as well as the bigger picture on planning reforms, and developing partnerships within ICSs, ICPs and PCNs in 2021.

We would however like to communicate one, significant main element of yesterday’s discussion with you, and highlight the Merco commitment to support you all through the challenging times of Covid-19 - recognising our role in the increasing demand to put your health and wellbeing at the core of the recovery period ahead...

‘Focus on what is within your control’

Suzie Bailey – Director of Leadership at the Kings Fund spoke with great emphasis about the renewed collaborative potential of the health service, and how we have all now witnessed a drive across the system for everyone to work together. There seems to be a renewed effort in the ways local government, social care partners, the NHS and the voluntary sector can work together, and we were pleased to hear that legislation around collaborative working is expected to move at a faster pace in 2021. But it was the phrase ‘focus on what is within your control’ that really struck a nerve with us as an employer.

Merco share the views of the Kings Fund: There has been a severe impact of Covid-19 on staff, they are exhausted, many suffering PTSD and stress. So, we need to be putting the welfare of staff ‘right at the heart of recovery’ by reducing workload pressures and nurturing staff. 

‘Take rest and recover’

To expand on this, The Kings Fund put the emphasis on teamwork, something very important to us at Merco. In order to support clinicians shift by shift, we need to be identifying what staff need to be safe and well at work. This means taking control of the pastoral side of the workforce and delivering support outside of the usual constraints of pay, immigration, and all of the other factors affecting staffing levels. It means co-designing, and consulting on what makes a difference to people’s daily experience of coming to work, such as car parking, flexibility of shift patterns around individual needs, addressing mental health and wellbeing, and supporting managers to support staff.

Fortunately, collaborative working through Merco does not mean embarking on the 3-dimensional ‘game of chess’ we see in system working, which is a vastly more complex matter! We as an employer are able to help nurture the incredible talents and motivation of staff, offer time to rest and recover, and have these conversations with you to help foster relationships that ‘act’ our way toward integration.

If we look at this for a moment through a community lense...

rather than a focus on health - we can all feel the narrative shifting to embrace social care and mental health in our communities. What started with Covid-19 related questions such as ‘was the protective ring around care homes strong enough?’ escalated quickly into a vibrant set of community lead services to tackle social inequalities, and it is now built into our culture to support our elderly neighbours, and discuss our mental health and wellbeing with friends and family, sometimes even strangers. In many ways this seems to be the path to reform, even if it has come about from ‘shock demand’ created by the pandemic.

So, I guess if we had to summarise on what Merco has really valued from yesterday’s discussion with the Kings Fund, it is the focus on what is ‘within our control’ as the ‘Merco community’. And how we can take positive steps to support you all in 2021. We aim to play our part in looking after your health and wellbeing as much as we can. We will continually acknowledge the importance of your role through the changing lense of the health sector, and most importantly put our collaborative efforts to greater use by encouraging greater debate and resources around pastoral support and Mental Health.

We look forward to speaking with you all about these important issues and what they mean to you. If you would like to watch the Kings Fund webinar online, you can view it here from tomorrow, 30th January:

Merco welcomes any comments you may have, please feel free to share your thoughts. Merco is your community as much as ours.

Anita Quinn

MD - Merco Medical Staffing

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