Directors at Cwm Taf University Health Board are back on the frontline of the NHS this week, carrying out shifts alongside colleagues across the health board.

The initiative, which is running for the second year, has also been extended to Assistant Directors who will be working in clinical and non-clinical settings including A&E, theatres, community hospitals, catering and estates.

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 University Health Board CEO Allison Williams worked a shift in the A&E department of Royal Glamorgan Hospital as a healthcare support worker last week after carrying out the same role at Prince Charles Hospital’s Emergency department last year. She said:

“It never ceases to amaze me that when I put on a uniform and roll my sleeves up, people tell me things that I never hear when I simply visit the department.

It helps me to genuinely connect with staff and experience first-hand what they face day-to-day in their departments. I get to speak directly with patients and staff about their experiences and what can be done to make things better and I can see for myself where systems might be improved.”

Debbie Evans, the Assistant Director of Performance worked a shift with theatre staff at Prince Charles Hospital, while Director of Primary Care, Community and Mental health John Palmer, who worked as a GP receptionist in Dowlais last year, worked a shift in the medical records hub in Williamstown.

Other shifts include the radiology department for the Director of Planning; food production for the Director of Workforce, and the pathology lab for the Assistant Director of Scheduled Care.

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 open and honest feedback to make improvements
  • Raise the profile of different healthcare roles and their importance in the NHS structure
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