UCLH strategy 2023-2027
UCLH’s five-year strategy (2023-2027) focuses on improving our services to patients, supporting and developing our staff, continuing our excellent work in research and education, and ensuring financial sustainability. Our strategy will be delivered by working closely with local, national, and global partners who, together, play a vital role in keeping people healthy.
Our vision and values continue to underpin everything we do.
A great deal has happened since the last UCLH strategy launched in 2018. We have faced and worked through a global pandemic, which will continue to have an impact on our staff and patients for many years to come. Across the globe, health systems are facing challenges in relation to an ageing population who have ever more complex care needs. Nationally, changes to the way highly specialist services, including some cancers and rare diseases, are paid for will impact our role. And locally, there have been many healthcare system changes, including the introduction of Integrated Care Systems and Boards. This means how we operate in North Central London (NCL), and the relationships we have with our local partners, is very different to how it used to be.
All of these reasons mean it is the right time to review and refresh UCLH’s strategy.
The strategy sets the direction of UCLH over the next five years. It looks to the future, recognising the many opportunities and considerable challenges facing us, and the whole NHS.
There is a great deal to be proud of at UCLH. We remain one of the UK’s leading hospitals for both patient care and research and are one of only two UK hospitals ranked in the world’s top 60. In 2023, our staff rated us the top trust in England to work at. We have a history of strong financial and operational performance and many leading clinicians working with us. UCLH is seen as a national centre for education, especially in postgraduate medicine, and we run one of the largest and most successful Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) in partnership with UCL. We continue to develop new opportunities to lead clinical care, including in areas such as migrant health, infection, neurosciences, cancer and women’s health, as well as non-clinical areas such as environmental sustainability. As a member of the Shelford Group of ten of the largest NHS teaching and research hospitals, we have a strong influence both nationally and internationally.
However, NHS finances are increasingly tight, and the current cost of living crisis places a strain upon us as individuals and as an organisation. Our staff are undoubtedly our biggest asset, but recruitment and retention issues have the potential to impact everything we do. The local population in NCL has a lower proportion of residents aged over 65, a higher proportion of working age people, and more households meeting at least one of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) measures of deprivation compared to the national average. Our dynamic and diverse local population brings both benefits and challenges for health and social care, making working with our partners even more important.
Recognising these challenges is the first step to overcoming them. UCLH needs to improve value, whilst maintaining excellent patient care and supporting our entire workforce. Some of this involves making sure that we are always getting the basics right both in terms of patient care and staffing. In turn, these building blocks will be further strengthened by ensuring we work in partnership with the local health and care system, as well as allowing us to maintain our position as a world-leading research hospital and a national specialist centre of excellence for many conditions.
While developing this strategy, we engaged with staff, governors and patients to understand their views of UCLH’s development and the priority areas we should focus on. We heard how patient needs are changing, as is the way people want to be engaged with and cared for. We heard from staff about the challenges post-COVID, as well as the pride people feel about working for UCLH, alongside the desire for processes and staffing levels to be better. We have used this feedback, alongside learning from our 2018 strategy and our current frameworks, to help develop the 2023-2027 strategic themes and intentions.
- We will improve the quality of our patient services, in our role as both a local and specialist hospital, by rigorously focusing on safety, clinical outcomes, equity and patient experience.
- We will reduce waiting times for appointments, tests and treatments to deliver national performance targets for planned and emergency care by 2024/25.
- We will deliver fair access to our clinical services and work in North Central London and beyond to improve population health. This will be achieved in partnership with our residents, and neighbouring and national health and care providers, using data to target and improve health inequalities.
- We will maximise the use and value of our existing hospitals and facilities and, by the end 2023/4, agree our approach to investing in our older buildings including the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and University College Hospital at Westmoreland Street.
- We will make better use of digital technology to support patients using healthcare services, including managing their appointments, accessing their healthcare records and streamlining care, by sharing records with all partners in their care pathway.
- We will become an employer of choice by focusing on attracting, recruiting, progressing and retaining staff at UCLH. We will develop a sustainable pipeline of high-calibre staff, especially in harder-to-recruit areas, and will increase stable and rewarding employment opportunities for local residents.
- We will create a culture at UCLH that supports the well-being of all our staff. We will develop a minimum set of standards that our staff hold us accountable to, in relation to violence, aggression, bullying and harassment, improved access to welfare services and facilities, and promoting flexible working.
- We will make sure that UCLH is a fair, equitable, inclusive and representative organisation and will continue to grow a more diverse workforce, especially at a senior level. We will hold ourselves accountable to the objectives and aims contained within our equity, diversity and inclusion strategy.
- We will continue to implement new ways of working, developing the technology and support to reduce inefficiencies in the way we work across UCLH, transforming our administrative programmes and securing the benefits of digital transformation in both clinical and non-clinical settings.
- We will invest in our staff networks, supporting them to become active and representative groups that bring together groups of staff to share experiences and learning, as well as influencing and challenging how we act as an organisation.
- We will develop our international reputation for delivering world-leading research with our key partner UCL, and deepening our relationships with other academic, research and industry partners.
- We will speed up the set-up time for research to consolidate our position as a world-leading research hospital. We will deploy cutting-edge technology throughout our research and, by 2024, we will agree with partners the way forward for new life sciences infrastructure based in North Central London.
- We will expand research capacity and capability across all clinical professions and services within UCLH, further improving opportunities for nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, pharmacy staff and healthcare scientists to lead and develop research.
- We will increase the number of patients participating in, and benefiting from, our research. We will particularly focus on increasing patients from diverse cultures and backgrounds to improve the quality of our research.
- We will increase the pace and scale of identifying innovations and implementing them across our services and local integrated care system.
- We will develop innovative and visionary approaches to the design and delivery of our staff education programmes, including developing an approach to the creation of a UCLH institute of nursing and midwifery.
- We will increase career development opportunities by ensuring all staff are encouraged and supported to access training and development, including on-the-job learning, apprenticeships and flexible approaches to completing training.
- We will make sure that staff delivering training have appropriate dedicated time and resources for these activities, including the space and equipment required to train in a hybrid world.
- We will ensure we are responsive to changes in our education funding and contracts, while ensuring we are still delivering value for money for the benefit of staff and patients.
- We will recognise the value of partnership working in the delivery of healthcare and ensure this is reflected in our training and development programmes for clinical and non-clinical staff.
- We will be a financially sustainable organisation, focussing on clinical and operational productivity and efficiency across our services to deliver the best value for our patients and the taxpayer. We will innovate to deliver value for money from our resources.
- We will diversify our income, explore alternative funding routes to support our capital programme and drive forward our commercial and private healthcare strategies to support the financial sustainability of NHS services.
- We will support system-wide financial sustainability within North Central London by working in partnership with other providers to support efficiency and value for money. Nationally, we will work with health and care partners to support our role in providing specialist care to patients from across the UK.
- We will ensure that we make the most appropriate decisions on aligning resources to need across UCLH. We will put in place clear governance processes to make transparent investment and resource prioritisation decisions.
- We will deliver our green strategy achieving a net zero carbon footprint by 2031. Our carbon reduction initiatives will focus on clinical care, hospital buildings and transport, suppliers and products used, and education and engagement.
Jon Snow, Channel 4 News anchorman, visited University College Hospital after being knocked off his bike late one evening.
He entered A&E during a busy period with a bruised chest but says: “The moment the admissions team learned that I had been thrown from my bike I was prioritised and seen by a doctor within about five minutes. I genuinely think I wasn't recognised and prioritised because people recognised me. “The doctor who tended me was brilliant, and she worked with a team that had clearly been together for sometime - they worked like clockwork but with great humanity too.
“Eventually, after four hours they were prepared to let me go and I didn’t mind that it was 2am. I was delighted to be going home and grateful for the world beating medical assistance I had received.”
TV broadcaster and presenter Angela Rippon is supporting a Royal College of Nursing campaign to improve hospital care for people with dementia. She said kindness and caring were ‘vital values’ when it came to treating patients with the condition. Angela, whose mother had dementia, said: “I would ask staff to just be friendly and employ a bit of humanity with everybody – not just people with dementia. Be kind and caring and never forget the carers. The carer and the person with dementia come as a combined unit and the carer might also be under terrible stress. Some doctors totally ignore them and do so at their peril because then you can end up with two patients. Never ever underestimate the value of the carer or the fact that they need to be treated with as much kindness and compassion as the patient.”
Ben Fogle, globetrotting broadcaster, underwent treatment at the University College Hospital infectious diseases unit and Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
He said: "The care I received was extraordinary. It was the enthusiasm and kindness of the staff that got me through the treatment. They were a great team!”