Use Our Toolkit to Improve Team Collaboration

Crossing Professional Boundaries: a toolkit for collaborative teamwork has been developed by The King’s Fund, in conjunction with NHS Future-Focused Finance.

It is a simple seven-step process to enable cross-functional teams to reflect on how they work together, with a view to improving. You can download it here. (Please note, that you need to be logged in to the website to download the toolkit. If you have not yet registered and so do not have a log-in, you can register for free via the link at the top of the website.)

The Toolkit comes in 4 sections:

  • An Introduction – what the toolkit is for and why should you use it
  • Section A – why should you take the time as a team to reflect with your colleagues
  • Section B – The Toolkit, and the 7-step process - Use this to strengthen joint working between clinical and finance teams
  • Section C – Shortcuts, templates and suggestions

The Toolkit was refined following feedback and evaluation from the pilot phase, which involved NHS organisations across the country using the Toolkit with their own teams. An evaluation, carried out independently by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), demonstrated encouraging outcomes in improving teamwork between clinical and finance teams, and consequently better outcomes for patients. Click here to read the evaluation.

The pilot organisations are now part of the network of NHS organisations using the Toolkit who are available to provide support and advice to you and your colleagues should you want it. Click here to join the network.

The Toolkit was developed under the guidance of Professor Michael West of The King’s Fund, who has spent much of his recent career considering cross-boundary teamwork, particularly in the health service. In 2012 he said, “While some doubt the wisdom of taking time out from a team’s busy work to conduct such reviews, there is strong evidence that teams which do this are far more effective than those which do not.”

Prof. West explains: “Healthy working relationships are critical to an organisation’s ability to create a culture in which teamwork can thrive, in order to deliver better patient care within the resources available.”

Dr Sanjay Agrawal, Consultant Respiratory Intensivist at University of Leicester Hospitals, is the lead for Close Partnering in Future-Focused Finance. “Most teams in the NHS – at all levels – do not take the time to stop and reflect. But it’s an essential, basic requirement of well-functioning teams – especially when members come from very different professional backgrounds.

As a working clinician, I know how hard it can be to get clinicians and finance teams to work effectively together. I am delighted that we have been able to work with The King’s Fund to produce something that has been shown to make a genuine difference to teamwork on the frontline, where it’s most needed.”

The pilots also identified some of the barriers to getting teams to take the time to get to grips with the toolkit, and to prioritise the time out required. Judith Muir, Matron for Head & Neck and Ophthalmology services at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says that there were some challenges to overcome

“The Toolkit has allowed us to reflect on the jargon that each of us uses in our daily work. I’d say our finance staff have certainly got better at avoiding jargon and explaining things in more user-friendly language. It’s made communications better between the professional groups. Because we now understand each other better, I was able to work with my finance colleagues to justify the investment in some equipment which considerably improved the patient experience and shortened their length of stay.”

 

On 15 March, Professor West and Dr Agrawal hosted a webinar giving an overview of the toolkit. The webinar also gave potential users the opportunity to ask questions on the theory behind the toolkit and about the experiences of those who have used it. You can view a recording of the webinar by clicking here.

 

Should you wish to discuss the Toolkit with someone, please email futurefocusedfinance@nhs.net and we will be in touch. 

 

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