Teams that work better together create better outcomes for patients, however despite our best efforts effective, collaborative teamwork remains a challenge for many. 

Working with The King’s Fund, this toolkit has been designed to help NHS organisations assess the health of working relationships across their organisations, particularly between clinicians and finance staff. The toolkit helps you understand how well your teams engage with each other and gives you a route to finding ways to improve collaboration. 

The toolkit encourages you to take the time out to reflect and takes you through 7 steps to help you do just that. The steps include arranging a time and space to bring people together to get them talking and really listening to each other. The toolkit encourages everyone in the team to make changes, reflect again and support each other.

The toolkit has been piloted by organisations of differing type, size, structure and geography, to ascertain its effectiveness in a variety of workplace scenarios. A formal evaluation of 17 pilot sites carried out by CIPFA found that using the toolkit was seen as a highly beneficial exercise by those interviewees who completed the process. Particular benefits identified included:

  • The facilitation of a forum to understand staff roles, share learning and improve collaborative working
  • The provision of a structured process that reduced the time needed to organise meetings, kept the conversations on track and helped to develop realistic actions
  • Enabling processes for the development of feasible actions, that will allow collaborative processes to continue beyond the pilot process

Judith Muir, Matron Head & Neck and Ophthalmology, with Rob Neale, Senior Service Improvement Accountant, led the piloting of the toolkit in Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS FT - "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.”

Through Future-Focused Finance, you are also able to join a network of people and organisations who are using the toolkit, either to get support or inspiration to help you improve engagement between your professional teams, or to offer your own experience or support. If you are unsure where to start, or just want to speak to someone about it, please email futurefocusedfinance@nhs.net and someone will be in touch.

We ran a webinar with Prof Michael West of The King’s Fund and Dr Sanjay Agrawal, our clinical lead for this project, for anyone who wants further information. The webinar gives an overview of the main elements of the toolkit.