Southern Health celebrate Staff Conference

29 January 2024

Over 200 members of staff representing a whole range of clinical and non-clinical services attended our Staff Conference on 24 January at Kings Community Church.

The focus this year was staff appreciation; we wanted to hear from our staff about what makes them feel appreciated and come together to celebrate the past 13 years of Southern Health’s accomplishments. As well as a selection of talks, the conference hosted chatty exhibitors in the marketplace rooms, and the popular photo booth wall which saw some excellent poses.

Ron staff conference.jpgOpening the conference was Ron Shields, the appointed Chief Executive to the new organisation, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Touching on the changes to come and thanking staff for all their hard work, Ron said:  “What else can we do to be the best as we move towards our new Trust? Thank you for all you have done. We will continue to deliver the best services we can."

Following this was the first of four talks and activities designed to engage with our staff and create a space for open discussions and networking opportunities, we started with a talk on flexible working. During discussions with our audience, we talked about overcoming obstacles to flexible working, and encouraged colleagues to seek support if they’re not seeing adaptive management styles.

The second activity ‘The materials needed to do the job’ was an exercise designed to allow attendees to circulate the room and ask subject experts and colleagues for advice and support. Representatives for different teams were kept busy during the Q&A session as staff leapt at the chance to have their queries answered.

After lunch we had a panel discussion on career progression and development, asking five colleagues for their top tips and experiences. Our panel members found that many members of staff reached out to them after the panel, and they were able to signpost or follow up with them about their ambitions.

“The audience was mindful of the pressures across services but still engaged in the conference, the structure had clearly been adjusted, the time table was amended to reflect the pressures, and yet Southern delivered an engaging, informative and light hearted review of many of the challenges we face and our ability to meet those challenges head on, with our fellow NHS partners joining us to support even more patients imminently. Excellent set up and delivery by the Communication team & speakers, panel members under challenging conditions.” Craig Rees, Associate Director of Business and Performance

Our final session, Appreciation of Staff, opened the floor to allow people to share how they appreciate their team members, and what they’d like to see more of. This section had some fantastic feedback, with people popping up all over the room to contribute their ideas. We also heard from staff on Elmleigh ward who shared their successful quality improvement project which many staff agreed was inspiring and useful.

Wrapping up the day was a video montage of photos from various teams, sites and events over the years which was met with a jolly crowd ‘whooping’ for team members on when they came on screen.

Staff conference2.jpgWe are so lucky to have the opportunity to hear from our staff about what makes them feel appreciated and what we can do to support them through their work. Celebrating our accomplishments together was a wonderful way to say goodbye to Southern Health and hello to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and we look forward to hosting again in 2025 with a whole sea of new faces.

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