Ensuring staff are listened to and valued will be a driving force behind a much-needed cultural turnaround within the Health Department, the new interim Chief Officer has said.
Allegations of bullying, cronyism and poor senior governance have plagued the department for a number of years – with several key reports documenting a catalogue of failings.
Earlier this month, director general for health Caroline Landon and chief nurse Rose Naylor both unexpectedly resigned at short notice amid further allegations of major cultural problems within the department.
Pictured: Chief Nurse Rose Naylor and Chief Officer of Health and Community Services Caroline Landon both finished their roles this week.
Chris Bown, who was initially brought to the Island as part of a ‘change team’ to tackle some of the problems highlighted in those reports, has since been appointed on a temporary 12-month basis as Chief Officer to replace Ms Landon.
And, while he admitted that it would take more than a year to fully address the deep-routed cultural problems within Health, Mr Bown said that his priority is to put the department in the “right direction”.
“There is clearly a need to improve the culture of the organisation – that is well known,” he said.
“The need to ensure that staff are listened to, that they feel valued and engaged is important because we know – and there is plenty of evidence which suggests this – that poor morale has a negative impact on patient care and it is therefore critical that we improve the culture of our organisation.”
He added that “morale needs to improve” and that “Jersey has been subject to a number of critical reports [and] those issues have to be addressed”.
Last year, a report by Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor made a string of findings regarding the running of the Health Department and made 61 recommendations for improvements.
Mr Bown added: “The reason I am happy to be interim Chief Officer for the next 12 months is to get HCS pointing in a the right direction.
“Transformation into something better is not a one year thing. Culture change takes time and turning around an organisation doesn't happen overnight.”
Pictured: Health Minister, Deputy Karen Wilson,
Health Minister Karen Wilson admitted that her department is in a "period of reset" but said that Mr Bown’s appointment "strengthens the leadership arrangements".
She said: “Following the announcements that the chief officer and chief nurse informed us of their decision to resign from their posts, we needed to make some pretty quick decisions about how to ensure continuity across the organisation and across the service.
"What I was pleased about is that we were able to draw upon the talent and experience of someone available in the turnaround team to step in on a temporary basis while we went to a permanent recruitment.”
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