News and Comment from Roy Lilley.
The NHS never has a shortage of things to write about. Our health and care services are a picture of the nation, a salami-slice of life, the best of our past and history in the making.
We have courageous people, innovative people, people who come to work to make a difference. We also have more than our fair share of exhausted people and people working at the ragged edge.
There have been a few crooks and lead-swingers. We have the cynics and the enthusiasts, the pessimists, the optimists and every shade of opinion and behaviour in between.
Today, there will be people working in the NHS for the first time. The first day in, what I hope will be, a long and happy career. There will be some of you who will be on your last week; facing retirement or a new challenge elsewhere.
There will be those of you working in some of the largest and complex workplaces in the UK. Others in small intimate places, out of the spotlight but entwined with the lives of the people you serve.
At the end-of-life and at the beginning of life, you will be there. At the pressured front-line or the stressful behind-the-scenes, behind-a-desk. We all know the NHS is a whole system. We are interdependent. Everyone has a part to play.
As much as it will be a special day for some, for others it will be routine. There will be those who will be anxious, others just pleased to be there.
For me, this is a special day. Today, is the beginning of Change Week. A week where the Academy of Fabulous Stuff takes to the road. We will be visiting nearly 30 Trusts, practices, universities and commission groups. Follow us on Twitter; #FabChangeWeek.
Change-Day was the brain-child of NHS management trainees, they called themselves The Hubbies. Spontaneously, their concept spread across the NHS. Their idea; front-line staff really did know what needed to be changed. They really did know best and once a year they would have their say.
It was to provide a repository for all their ideas that the Academy was asked to get involved. Last year we published five summaries of the major themes arising out of the Day. Nevertheless, so many good ideas never got captured, never got shared.
Hence our first Change Week; giving everyone more time to collect their thoughts, make the change-pledges and turn them into action. Already people are!
By the time you read this I will be at the Sunderland and South Tyneside FT… moving on the meet the student nurses and midwives at Northumbria Uni and a webcast interview with the Secretary of State.
It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it, of all the people sitting around the Cabinet Table, he is the only one who really wants to be there! The longest serving SoS for Health. If I get a chance I’ll ask him why.
We all know the pressure keg the NHS has become. We all know, if the NHS had had the usual 4% a year up lift, it had previously worked with, every year, since 2010 we wouldn’t be struggling like we are today.
Like you I have an opinion about the way the economy has been run and the impact on public services.
One thing’s for sure, the difference between the work the NHS is paid to do and the work it is actually doing (£40bn) is not going to be made up with cash, anytime soon.
What I do know; part of the widening gap will have to be made up with innovation, better ways of working, ideas and sharing what good looks like. There is an urgency about this.
I’m certain; networks change things, hierarchies never will. If you want to find out how to improve services, forget inspection, forget strategy, forget pretty well everything top down. Start by asking people doing the job.
Change week does all that; the opportunity for all of us to think about the way we work. If there is a better way, we should say so. A duty of excellence.
Do the best – forget the rest.
Look out for us all this week; come and say hello.
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