Directors at Cwm Taf University Health Board are back on the frontline this week, in uniform and working shifts alongside staff as part of a health board-wide initiative.

While directors and senior managers in Cwm Taf already carry out regular visits to meet staff and talk to patients, this initiative sees them actually working alongside colleagues in the same role to get a real feel for the work some of the nearly 8,000-strong workforce does every day.

Cwm Taf’s Chief Operating Officer John Palmer worked shifts as a healthcare support worker in the A&E departments of both the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and Prince Charles Hospital.

“Working the shift alongside colleagues gives you a real sense of the pressures in the system and allows us to get underneath some of the challenges our staff face,” he said.

“It’s also a great opportunity to connect with the staff and talk to some of the patients about their experiences and what we could be doing to improve. I have also worked as a GP receptionist, a barista in the hospital café and in the medical records department – each experience has been unique and something I hope we will continue to do as a health board to ensure we continue to exchange open and honest feedback with each other.

“I was proud of the care that I saw our A&E teams deliver during my shift.  I was also genuinely moved by the way that everyone kept such a strong focus on individual patient journeys as the numbers of patients in the unit and the complexity of their presentations increased during the day. We are very, very lucky to have the strong and caring multi-disciplinary teams that we do in Cwm Taf.”

The aim of the Back to the Frontline initiative is to:

  • Help directors learn more about the roles of frontline staff and their everyday experiences in primary and secondary care
  • Enable staff and directors to exchange feedback to make improvements
  • Raise the profile of different healthcare roles and their importance in the NHS structure

Cwm Taf’s Director of Finance Steve Webster recently worked a shift with the Estates team while the Chair of the health board Professor Marcus Longley worked alongside the Patient Advice and Liaison officers who support patients and families with any concerns or complaints as they arise.

Other senior executives are scheduled to work in directorates across the health board in the coming weeks including the laundry; sexual health clinics and older people’s mental health.

Cwm Taf Directors go Back to the Frontline to work with NHS staff on the sharp end