"We have seen a definite improvement in all these areas following CMI course participation."
Kingston Hospital is a district general hospital based 12 miles from central London. The hospital supports approximately 320,000 residents in the surrounding area including the boroughs of Kingston, Richmond, Roehampton, Putney and East Elmbridge and directly employs more than 2,600 staff, with a further 300 contractors working on behalf of the Trust.
The hospital recently appointed a new Chief Executive and as with many other NHS services, is going through a number of organisational changes. These include changes to IT systems and alterations to the business plan which will impact on service delivery and targets. The current financial climate is also making for a more challenging operating environment.
With all these changes going on, it is important that Kingston Hospital’s managers are well equipped to handle change and to disseminate information to staff where and when appropriate. Members of the management team have varying levels of experience and qualifications.
Management training opportunities have always been important to the hospital’s development agenda. The aim is to encourage relevant staff members to undertake management training, and to increase staff awareness that the hospital is committed to providing career development opportunities for all. A key aim is to equip managers with the skills and knowledge to manage all the changes taking place, effectively, as this is crucial to future stability and the success of the organisation. Finally, the hospital aims to recognise the skills and talents of individuals in the organisation and provide them with opportunities to improve their practice.
The Hospital works with Kingston College – a local further education establishment, to provide a choice of four CMI courses for its staff – including the Introductory Certificate in Management  and the Introductory Diploma in Team Leading . To date, a predominantly junior level of staff has taken up the courses. Since early 2008, approximately 40 individuals have completed courses so far, with enthusiastic uptake from junior managers in particular.
The hospital has witnessed an improvement in the skills level of its staff, with some participants saying they have been promoted as a result of completing the course. Kingston Hospital Training Manager Marie MacKenzie says: “The type of skills we need our staff to have include good communication, a well rounded understanding of the organisation and its goals, the ability to form strong relationships with fellow team members and an understanding of the importance of trust and transparency, when managing change. We have seen a definite improvement in all these areas following CMI course participation.
“It is clear to us that training and development opportunities are impacting on individuals. In terms of the impact on the wider organisation, our belief is that if you have good managers, who manage their teams effectively, this translates into better service provision and improved customer satisfaction as a result.”
Kingston Hospital is committed to a training and development system which recognises the skills and talents individuals already have, after all these enabled them to get their role within the organisation. The key is to provide them with subsequent opportunities to build on this to improve their practice.
Marie adds: “Our staff value the pragmatic aspect of CMI training where they can use an example which is live in their own work area as a case study for development. We find this management and leadership training supports career progression and individual goals, in a way which relates directly to the role of the individual in the organisation and the work they already undertake on a day to day basis.”