Five minutes with Dr Tara Kearney…

Tara_Kearney_jpg.Over the next few months we will introduce the seven members of the ICO Shadow Leadership Team, starting in this issues with the Chair, Dr Tara Kearney.

What did you think of the leadership development programme launch event? How did you find the atmosphere? 

It was a fantastic opportunity to meet our new colleagues and quite an achievement given everyone’s commitments!

Initially, the atmosphere was one of anxiety and apprehension as I think people were uncertain as to what the development of the ICO would mean for both themselves and also the people of Salford.

As we settled into the day, the atmosphere soon changed to excitement as the focus of the ICO became clear and the opportunities became apparent.

Some have suggested that the ICO simply a money-saving exercise, or an SRFT ‘takeover’?

The ICO is a new entity that brings together four excellent organisations – SRFT, Salford city Council, Salford CCG and GMW. It is definitely not a SRFT ‘takeover’ but the coming together of these four partners as equals, with a common goal and pooling of resources, skills and expertise.

The focus is centred on the individual and their personal needs and we hope to deliver the three main aims of the ICO, which are to have better outcomes and improve user satisfaction, in addition to reducing costs.

Why should we be looking at an ICO?

It’s clear that it is becoming more and more difficult to provide excellent care and the reasons for this are many; an ageing population, difficulties in recruiting skilled and experience staff, the availability of more complex and expensive treatments, budget cuts, to name but a few.

Most of us have felt the strain of this increasing over the years and are finding it increasingly hard to meet the demands made on our services. It’s clear that something has to change.

By individualising care and wrapping streamlined co-ordinated services around the needs of the people, it is hoped that we will be able to maintain the excellent services currently provided by all four organisations.

How important are staff in getting us there?

Staff are integral in getting us there. The ideas for reform have to come from those that know the services best and that is those individuals currently providing those services. We cannot achieve this level of reorganisation without the support of the staff and certainly will not be able to shape services without their experience, enthusiasm and expertise. This is a journey we all need to travel on together.

Any message for staff? 

I’m really grateful for the contributions that staff have made so far. I want to reassure staff that the reasons for change are valid, and that we are working together to provide better care for residents of Salford but also for those staff providing that care.

I hope that the ICO will provide opportunities for staff, in terms of education, the ability to work outside of their current boundaries, to learn from others and share experiences.

Hopefully, this will amount to a better working environment, increased job satisfaction and sustainable reliable care for our residents.