Friday, April 6, 2012

Discuss Management in the Irish Context

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To manage is to forecast and plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate and to control. (Fayol, H. 116)

Basically, Management is a process of achieving desired results through the efficient use of human and material resources. The concept of Managerial effectiveness is a central issue in Management. It is the Manager’s job to be effective.

The Irish people attach a high value to good health services. They expect to have access to health services when needed and to receive the highest standard of medical and nursing care.

This can be brought about most effectively by good management, including medical and nursing. However, if the personnel / staff in an organisation are satisfied and fulfilled by their role, then the organisation, as a whole, will run smoothly. This essay will look primarily at Personnel Management and how its effectiveness impacts upon the rest of the organisation. Of course, the primary responsibility of the Personnel Manager is the recruitment and retention of staff. Services stand or fall on the contribution of the staff who provide them. An organisation’s workforce represents one of its most valuable resources.

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In addition to ensuring that people with the necessary experience are available to the services, a suitable balance must be achieved between the demand for and supply of the many skills needed in a modern health system. Because so many of the skills required are highly specialised and mobile, it is recognised that manpower planning at any level poses difficulties. In specialist areas, the number of people in training and the number of vacancies arising in any one year are often small, the period of time spent in training can be relatively long, so that calculations of need at the beginning of a training cycle are often overtaken by events; many of the skills are in demand internationally and emigration of skilled personnel can upset calculations of predicted supply. Notwithstanding, these difficulties, there is a need to keep the balance between supply and demand under review and a number of important issues need urgent attention. (Shaping a Healthier Future40)

At operational level personnel management involves line managers dealing with day to day interactions with employees and handling most aspects of workplace Personnel Management. Line management incorporates all managers and supervisors responsible for running operational departments or sections in an organisation.

Every business will succeed or fail depending on a limited and variable number of strategic factors. (Humble, J.W.,17017) The importance of effective management to the nation and the nations economy has grown considerably over the last quarter of a century, even more so in Ireland in recent years, with our Celtic Tiger phenomenon. This has impacted on the nation by the increasing demand for higher living standards, including a better healthcare service.

The rapid advance in Information Technology has revolutionised many of the processes by which services are made available to patients/clients. Also the massive improvements in world-wide communication systems, leading to better and more timely information.

It has been said that Healthcare in Ireland, in general, has been slow to initiate change. This could be true has healthcare is not a profit making business, therefore the changes in trends and needs of patients may not be apparent. If one was providing goods for the public but they could go somewhere else to get them cheaper or more effective � this action would act as feedback to the business, and in turn, change would be brought about. In healthcare, if a patient needs medical attention they have no choice but to go to their local G.P./Hospital.

Some managers and indeed staff find change threatening. A manager who is a good communicator and who can overcome any negative resistance to change and ‘sell’ it to those affected by it, are assets to their organisation.

Because of the rapidly changing nature of health services, all staff need to be aware of the need for continuing education and training. Employee training and development is an important facilitator of satisfactory employee performance, allowance employees to satisfy personal and organisational needs through their work. (Gunnigle, P.; Flood, P., 10154). Irish Nursing for example, enjoys a well deserved international reputation for excellence.

Key findings of a survey carried out by the Office for Health Management, the purposes of which was to identify future development needs in the healthcare sector, showed that the majority of persons working in the health services in Ireland feel they have the greatest amount of skill, knowledge and experience in the following areas.

᠋ Consumer Care;

᠋ Leadership and Managing people;

᠋ Group facilitation;

᠋ Objective setting;

᠋ Change Management.

The priority areas that they identified for their career development were-

᠋ Strategic Management;

᠋ Resource Use;

᠋ Project Management;

᠋ Data analysis;

᠋ Quality Management.

The Office for Health Management have staged follow up workshops for participants to discuss the implications of the findings for Management and Development policy. (Office of Health Management Annual Report 000)

The Celtic Tiger has also brought about better remuneration packages for workers, but this in turn has lead to pay claims from different disciplines of staff who feel they are not being paid their worth. This, of course, leads to conflict � something almost every manager, when working in an organisation as large as a Health Board, will encounter during the course of his or her career.

Working together for a better health service provides for a new active relationship in managing change characterised by employee participation and consultation, the development of joint objectives, co-operation and trust and the delivery of patient-focused quality health services.

The above is the mission statement of the National Health Services Partnership Agreement. Partnership is seen as an approach to modernisation of public services through engagement of all participants in development of a shared vision of organisational objectives and goals. Partnership committees have been set up in each health board, to ensure the good management and implementation of the agreement.

The partnership approach is seen as facilitating adaptability, change and innovation in methods of service delivery and in minimising or eliminating conflict in the resolution of difficulties � with the objective of improving the quality of service for those who receive treatment and care from health service providers. One of the key principles underpinning the partnership approach is effective management of people at all levels and performance review.

The cornerstone of employee relations is the contractual relationship that exists between an employee and his or her employer, even where aspects of the relationship are subject to collective agreements. (Cole, G.A. 168)

Employee relations in Ireland today, is dominated by organisation wide relationships rather than by arrangements made between trade unions and employers’ bodies. The emphasis now is less on producing joint procedures and rules of behaviour and more on gaining mutual commitment to organisational success.

A well designed organisation usually ensures that managerial effectiveness and only managerial effectiveness, leads to personal rewards. While organisations do vary in the extent, speed and adequacy of rewards for effectiveness, there can be little doubt that, in the long run the effective manager is the rewarded one. The rewards are usually concrete in terms of salary, level of position and advancement rate. (Reddin, W.J.; Kehoe, P.T. 1746)

There is evidence that the Health Boards are changing. Hospitals, for instance, are no longer judged by the number of beds they have. There is a link between the volume of a particular type of work a hospital does and the quality of the results that are achieved. That has implications for hospitals, which traditionally served small communities and explains why hospitals outside large cities are forging links with other hospitals so that, by sharing work, they can each achieve the quality standards expected of a modern hospital.

In conclusion, in my opinion the Healthcare Services are changing all the time. The Health Services are becoming a more health conscious place to work not only for patients/client but also for staff. The introduction of new posts such as Health Education Officers, Employee Assistance Officers shows that the Management of the Health Boards are conscious of the fact that they not only have a responsibility to the public but also to their staff.

The promise of an investment of £,000 million in healthcare facilities over the lifetime of the recently published National Development Plan makes it safe to predict that Ireland will retain it’s premier division healthcare status for the foreseeable future.

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