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An interview with Lisa Bayliss-Pratt Health Education England

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt is Director of Nursing at Health Education England. She is passionate about education and training to support a better workforce and healthier customers.

Lisa spoke to ExtraCare following a recent visit to Hagley Road Village.

Health Education England’s constitution cherishes respect, dignity and compassion. How do you deliver compassion?
Health Education England’s constitution is at the heart of what we do – it’s the rock we’re built from. So it’s important that people see role models that demonstrate compassion. Some people are more compassionate than others but it’s something you can learn as well. It’s all about checking and challenging, spotting, and listening to the feedback that people give you. You need to keep asking yourself, am I giving good care? Is it helping them live as well as they can be?

In terms of recruiting the right staff, is it the “person first” and qualifications later?
The right person is absolutely vital so person first and qualifications later. But it’s important that people are educated and trained well. Employers have a responsibility to keep inspiring and training their staff. If you end up with a toxic culture processes can happen that are less than optimal and you slip into a poor practice before you realise it.

ExtraCare involves residents in recruitment. Is this good practice?
I think that’s absolutely gold standard. Customers and the public should be involved in recruitment and at the heart of everything we do. At Health Education England we’ve put our patients at the heart of all we do and have a patient advisory programme. Our patients are our sounding board - they provide us with reality checks, telling us what we need or don’t need.

As well as training staff, do providers also have a responsibility to educate and train older people about their health?
It’s interesting. We had a board meeting yesterday where we talked about the role we have in educating NHS patients and the public. We can afford the NHS if we make some bold decisions: how can we get people thinking about stopping smoking, drinking sensibly, exercising? That’s our thought, and that’s why ExtraCare’s approach to health and well-being really impressed me. This has to be the way forward. We can’t just have a society which depends on a system looking after individuals when they come in for treatment – we have to help people look after themselves too.

What did you observe on your recent visit to Hagley Road Village?
From the moment I walked in, I was really impressed by the environment, the gardens, the light, the air. It was incredibly welcoming. Speaking to residents, the ones I spoke to, they didn’t pull any punches - they were clear that they were happy. They felt supported, they knew that there was help and care if they wanted and needed it. They could live independently and have the community where they could enjoy one another’s company, doing things like arts and crafts, going to the bar, bingo, or visiting the gym – I thought it was fantastic.

The Village staff should be very proud of the service they provide. This Village holds a wealth of valuable experience for people who are training for a career in care.

And so how do we tackle the future healthcare and welfare challenges in our communities?
In the NHS Forward View document* it says we have got to find ways to help people live with long-term conditions and without always being in hospital. Yet, in the wider community, older people can die because of loneliness if they’re on their own and becoming demotivated. If you don’t feel like eating and you don’t see anyone, you end up in a downward spiral. It’s quite shocking.

So, we need more communities like yours to help people stay in contact. We also need your approach to health and well-being.

Here, people can live independently in their apartments and receive care if they need it. Where the health problems and illnesses are long term, people might either get better or learn to live with their condition, finding the best combination of health, medicine, exercise and well-being to help them live as best they can.

A really great example was when we went to your gym. There was the guy there who was a volunteer and another guy came in. He wasn’t a resident but said he was using the gym about three times a week. He was sharing his thoughts with the volunteer there, he had somebody to talk to, and they were looking after each other. Just saying “hello” and having someone to talk to when you’re not feeling well, either physically or mentally... that can really help.

*The NHS Five Year Forward View was published on 23 October 2014 and sets out a vision for the future of the NHS.

Picture: Lisa Bayliss-Pratt with Hagley Road Village volunteer Barry Wilcox.

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